Just one quarter of pubs reopened after lockdown with many staying shut because it was not worth opening in Tier 2, according to the pub industry’s association.
A survey of pubs over the past week found that just 27 per cent reopened following the end of lockdown on December 2.
However, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), who conducted the survey, warned that many pubs are facing closure again as trade is so low under the restrictive tier rules.
The majority of the UK is in Tier 2, which prohibits the sale of alcohol to customers unless it is accompanied with a ‘substantial meal’.
A survey of pubs conducted over the past week found that just 27 per cent reopened following the end of lockdown on December 2
Hospitality businesses in Tier 3 are even more severely restricted, as pubs can only operate a takeaway service.
Only 729 of the nation’s 37,552 pubs are in Tier 1, the only level where drinkers can socialise indoors with friends, according to Altus Group.
The chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, Emma McClarkin, said that it was ‘ridiculous’ that pubs are being forced to close after investing millions in making their premises safe for customers.
‘Having invested £500m in safety measures to ensure they are Covid-secure, it is ridiculous so many of our pubs are being forced to remain closed unfairly,’ she said.
‘It is clear the meagre £1,000 one-off payment for pubs this Christmas isn’t going to be anywhere near enough to save those who simply cannot open or are completely unviable.’
Speaking to The Telegraph, she warned that many pubs already fear another closure as trade will be low under the harsh tier restrictions.
‘It is just a shame so few are allowed to reopen and make a good go of it under the harsh new restrictions they now face,’ she said.
‘For those pubs that are reopening, some fear they could close again as soon as this week because they expect trade to be so low.’
In Wales pubs, restaurants and cafes are banned from serving alcohol from Friday, and will be unable to open to customers beyond 6pm.
Wetherspoons responded by saying it would close all of its 50 pubs in Wales, as it was ‘not viable to stay open’.
The pub chain later said they would keep eight pubs open, effectively trading as cafes and not pubs.
Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoons, said: ‘We’ve been perplexed by the low number of transmissions in pubs for a long time. We have no cases at all of the virus being transferred from staff to customers or vice versa.’
The British Beer and Pub Association warned that many pubs could close again as trade is so low in Tier 2. In Wales pubs, restaurants and cafes are banned from serving alcohol from Friday, and will be unable to open to customers beyond 6pm. Pictured: The Borough pub in Cardiff ahead of closing on Friday
Figures from Public Health England revealed that just 128 of 4,687 infections across England in the four weeks to the end of October were linked to bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
On Tuesday the Government announced a £1,000 Christmas grant for drinks-led pubs, but industry experts estimate that tenanted pubs are losing £500 to £600 per week on average.
More than 6,200 jobs have already been lost at major pub chains, with many thousands more made redundant by smaller landlords.
Hospitality venues will not included in the five-day relaxation of rules over Christmas, which allow three households to mix at home.
A Government spokesman said: ‘We have acted quickly to support businesses with one of the most extensive packages of financial support in the world worth £280 billion, including the extension of the furlough scheme, various loan schemes, a business rates holiday, VAT deferrals and grants of up to £3000 a month for those required to close.’