Charlie McVeigh launches #ProjectPint to promote safe return to pub trading

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Free the pint: campaigner Charlie McVeigh says ‘we have lost something incalculable from British daily life’, as pubs continue to be closed
Free the pint: campaigner Charlie McVeigh says ‘we have lost something incalculable from British daily life’, as pubs continue to be closed

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The founder of Draft House, Charlie McVeigh, has launched a campaign advocating the swift and safe resumption of trade at Britain’s pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants.

McVeigh, who is chairman and an investor in The Breakfast Club and Butchies Fried Chicken, has focused the #ProjectPint campaign around a petition calling on the Government to ‘Free the Pint’ by allowing licensed venues to reopen and take care of their customers while adhering to social distancing measures. 

According to the petition page on Change.org – which had received 953 signatures of its target of 1,000 at the time of writing: “Lockdown and Covid-19 mean that most pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants face the threat of imminent bankruptcy due to zero sales, physical distancing and the public’s ‘fear of going out’ (FOGO).” 

“By signing the petition to Free the Pint, you are asking Government for a swift, safe unlocking of Britain’s pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants to save them from permanent closure.

“Our communities have been through so much during lockdown and the Covid-19 crisis, and we will need our community hospitality venues more than ever when the crisis is over.”

Tackling FOGO

As outlined on its Change.org petition page, Project Pint makes three key demands of Government: 

  • We want Britain’s pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants back. Like they were. As soon as possible, when it’s safe
  • We want to allow the 3.2m people who work in pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants to keep their jobs and play their part in rebuilding our communities and restoring our economy to health
  • We want to let hospitality operators do what they are best at: being responsible for keeping customers and staff ​safe. They are the experts at running our pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants and are required by existing law to protect customers from harm. Let’s let them get on with doing just that.

Loss of something ‘incalculable’

As previously reported by The Morning Advertiser ​(MA​), McVeigh – who is also an investor from the BBC’s My Million Pound Menu​ – called upon the hospitality sector to end “project fear”​ and be truthful about what he believes are the negligible risks that the virus holds for the vast majority of the population. 

Project Pint aims to combat FOGO, which it claims is one the key threats to the sustainable relaunch of community venues such as pubs, and hopes to demonstrate that the people who run such sites are best placed to ensure that their compliance with legal responsibilities by communicating industry plans to resume trading.

“With the forced closure of our community pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs, we have lost something incalculable from British daily life,” McVeigh said of his new campaign. 

“It is essential we get them back open absolutely as soon as it is safe, to start to repair the immense social and economic damage caused by Covid-19 and lockdown. 

“The longer venues remain closed or subject to restrictive distancing regulations, the less likely it is they will ever be able to reopen and trade sustainably. 

“It would be a tragedy if hard-hit communities were to lose their community hubs even while they are only just beginning to emerge from the nine-week lockdown.”

Read the latest digital edition of The Morning Advertiser​ – for free – by clicking here​.

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