Under current trading restrictions many pubs, clubs and breweries will not last until Christmas, CAMRA warns
CAMRA calls on the Government to publish scientific evidence to support new pub restrictions
The Government must publish the evidence behind its decision to impose a curfew on pub opening and offer a new financial support package for affected businesses – or risk many pubs, clubs and breweries closing for good.
That’s the message from the Campaign for Real Ale, which represents nearly 180,000 pub goers and beer drinkers across the UK.
In a letter to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock CAMRA questions why these restrictions, such as the 10 pm curfew that has led to worrying scenes of crowds outside venues, are being applied to pubs and not to other types of businesses.
It comes as CAMRA fears the Government’s actions are reducing consumer confidence in pub-going, leading to renewed calls for an urgent package of financial support to protect jobs and keep pubs open and thriving in the months ahead.
CAMRA’s National Chairman Nik Antona said:
“Publicans who have already spent thousands making their premises COVID–secure now face dwindling levels of trade as a result of these government decisions, which will undoubtedly lead to permanent closure.
“Not only would this see hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs, but communities up and down the country would lose a vital part of their social fabric.
“Without seeing the evidence that was used to impose a curfew and other restrictions, the beer and pubs sector feels that it is being unfairly targeted without explanation, evidence or any financial help to compensate.
“Ministers must urgently publish the evidence on which their decisions have been taken and commit to a new financial support package for pubs whose trade has been hit – or else we risk losing many well–loved locals and breweries by Christmas.”
Notes to editors:
The full text of the letter from CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona to Health Secretary Matt Hancock is as follows:
The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Department of Health and Social Care
39 Victoria Street
29 September 2020
Dear Mr Hancock,
We are writing to you from CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, regarding the imposition of the 10 pm curfew on pubs and other hospitality businesses in England. We are UK wide consumer group representing nearly 180,000 consumers and pub-goers, and we campaign in support of the thousands of publicans across the country that are providing a COVID secure, safe space for consumers to socialise in limited numbers.
Pub– goers, brewers and publicans alike want to stop the spread of COVID-19, but we have concerns that the evidential basis for the curfew is lacking, and that Government actions are reducing consumer confidence in pub-going. Under current trading conditions, many pubs and breweries will not last until Christmas.
We note that so far, no data has been released by the Government that suggests that pubs and hospitality businesses are a major source of transmissions. In fact, the latest Public Health England surveillance report1 suggests that hospitality venues are not a major source of transmissions compared to other settings.
Furthermore, there have been worrying scenes of crowds outside venues across the country at curfew time. This is something that many publicans forewarned of and is also something that they are powerless to prevent for fear of being in breach of the new regulations.
This measure is punishing the thousands of responsible publicans across England who are providing a COVID-secure environment for their communities, while already operating at greatly reduced levels in their efforts to keep their customers safe. If the Government wants to continue with this policy, a financial support package must be announced immediately or communities will lose their local forever, people will lose their jobs, and publicans and brewers their livelihoods.
We note that in a response to a written Parliamentary Question2 regarding the evidential basis for imposing a 10 pm curfew on pubs, that the Government responded:
“The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.”
The future of thousands of pubs hangs in the balance and it is therefore imperative that these questions are answered now, and financial support is provided before the beer and pub sector is decimated. The Government should not impose restrictions that target one sector without explanation or evidence, which, so far, we have not seen.
We are asking that your Department publish the evidence behind this decision now, and that you ensure that the Government provide a proper financial support package to save pubs and brewers from certain closure.
Nik Antona – National Chairman
Tom Stainer – Chief Executive