Calls for tier changes as 72% of hospitality businesses say they expect to close next year

19 November 2020 by
Calls for tier changes as 72% of hospitality businesses say they expect to close next year

Around 72% of hospitality businesses expect to become unviable and close in 2021, according to a survey of members by trade bodies the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and UKHospitality.

The finding, from a survey of members of all three associations conducted by hospitality market research company CGA, shows thousands of hospitality and pub businesses need the government to do more to support them.

The survey found that the tiering system used across England was particularly damaging to pubs and hospitality businesses.

Under Tier 1 restrictions, only 25% of operators said they could turn a profit. Under Tier 2, 76% said they would be unviable or operating at a loss. For those having to operate under Tier 3, the survey found that 94% would be unviable or operating at a loss.

The group is calling on the government to adapt the tier restrictions by relaxing the ban on household mixing in Tier 2, alongside an extension to the 10pm curfew.

They are also asking for the government to allow wet-led pubs to reopen in Tier 3 without having to serve food as well, provided they follow the other rules. The 'medium' risk Tier 1 should also be relaxed further.

The bodies added that the government must also provide businesses with larger grants as the current level of support is simply not enough for them to survive on. They say grants in line with those given during the first lockdown are needed to support businesses who are uncertain over how long they could be in Tier 3 especially.

A joint spokesperson for the three organisations said: "The evidence is here to see of the devastating, long-term impact the government's restrictions are having on hospitality and pub businesses.

"Without a change in approach and more support from government, much of our sector could be gone within a year – that means businesses and jobs lost, plus much-loved venues closed forever.

"We recognise that local restrictions will need to be based on local risk levels, but to ensure our sector can bring people together properly this Christmas and beyond, and crucially provide them a safe environment to socialise in, we believe the tier system should be fine-tuned. That means relaxing the ban on more than one household in Tier 2 and extending the 10pm hard curfew cut-off point.

"Those pubs and hospitality venues facing Tier 3 restrictions currently have an impossible task of trying to remain viable as businesses. In recognition of this, the government must enable wet-led pubs to reopen in Tier 3 where they do not serve food, as well as significantly enhance the grant support for those businesses not viable across all tiers, but especially those in Tier 3. This will ensure their very survival so they can reopen once more when we are through the worst of this crisis."

Photo: Shutterstock

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