Pubs may 'not make it out the other side', claims Harleston landlord
A pub landlord has expressed his fear that some establishments may not “make it out the other side” if lockdown restrictions remain in place until the summer.
While the Government remains tight-lipped on when it expects the sector to reopen, Marc Baguelin, a leading scientific adviser to Number 10, said last week that pubs and restaurants should not reopen until May at the earliest.
George Moore, who runs The Cap in Harleston, said that another long stretch of lockdown may spell the end for a number of pubs.
“While people have made it this far, this might be the final push,” he said.
“It could mean another wave of pubs suffer, and do not make it out the other side.”
The Cap opened six months ago, and has spent much of that time relying on a delivery service to keep business ticking over.
Staff at the establishment, in the Thoroughfare, have been furloughed, but Mr Moore added that there was still much to be done to support the sector as it charts a way out of the current pandemic.
“We have been fortunate that we can offer the furlough scheme,” he said. “But much of the Government guidelines on this have not been very clear.
“We have had quite a different start to most pubs, but I know lots of people I have spoken to are struggling.”
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, urged the Government to provide more assistance to pubs – or risk losing them forever.
She said: “Given this latest evidence showing how the Covid crisis and lockdown is ripping pubs away from their communities for good, it is more important than ever that the Government backs our local pubs and brewers.
“Pubs are the heart of their communities and they will have a vital role to play in the economic recovery.
“But if they are to survive the current onslaught, they will need backing from the Government.”
Since the pandemic began, several pubs have had to close their doors for good as lockdown restrictions continue to cripple the hospitality sector.
In October, The Manor House in Wortham closed permanently, citing the coronavirus pandemic as the primary reason.