1 in 7 English pubs hit with ‘death knell’ tier two restrictions

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Latest measures: thousands of pubs will be under the new restrictions that come into force this weekend
Latest measures: thousands of pubs will be under the new restrictions that come into force this weekend

Related tags London Barrow-in-furness Essex Derbyshire Chesterfield York Legislation Government

Some 5,090 of England’s 37,616 pubs will be affected by the Government’s decision to move eight regions into the ‘high’ tier of its local Covid alert system.

In a statement to the House of Commons, health secretary Matt Hancock said London, Essex, Elmbridge (Surrey), Barrow-in-Furness (Cumbria), York, north east Derbyshire, Chesterfield (Derbyshire) and Erewash (Derbyshire) would be moving into the high local Covid alert level​ from one minute past midnight on Saturday (17 October).

Restrictions for these areas include a ban on households mixing indoors, as well as the national baseline restrictions such as the 10pm curfew and the "rule of six" continuing to apply outdoors.

The Department of Health and Social Care stated these measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate.

Analysis from real estate adviser Altus Group found these new measures will affect 835 pubs in Essex; 3,640 in London; 107 in Chesterfield; 87 in Erewash, Derbyshire; 106 in north east Derbyshire; 63 in Elmbridge, Surrey; a further 63 in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria; and 189 in York.

Catastrophic hit

Head of UK property tax at the firm, Robert Hayton said: “Further restrictive measures that adversely impacts trade, already at far lower levels than before the pandemic, without any discerning targeted support, could be the death knell.”

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added that moving into the second tier would be a curse for businesses.

"They will be trapped in a no man’s land of being open, but with severe restrictions that will significantly hit custom, all while unable to access the job support available in tier three. It is the worst of both worlds for businesses," she said.

“Venues in London have already taken a hit due to the dip in inbound tourism and with people increasingly working from home. A move into tier two will now be catastrophic for some of them and it is only going to be made worse by the end of the furlough scheme in under two weeks.

“The Government must remove employer contributions from the Job Support Scheme for hospitality or apply tier three job support to tier two businesses. If it does not, we are looking at catastrophic businesses closures and widespread job losses in the capital as early as one November.”

Financial support needed

British Beer & Pub Association boss Emma McClarkin said tier two restrictions will decimate pubs, brewers and their supply chains in these regions unless a proper package of support is given to them.

“Tier two measures mean pubs can remain open, but households cannot mix inside them. This completely kills our pubs’ business model making many of them totally unviable, yet under tier two restrictions they are not eligible for any additional financial support from Government, unlike in tier three where additional support is provided. The knock-on effect to brewers and pubs’ supply chain partners will devastate them too without more support.

“Without additional financial support, specifically access to financial grants and a job retention scheme closer to that in tier three, many pubs will be closing their doors for good.

“The Government must now do the right thing and immediately announce financial support measures to ensure pubs in these regions can survive, to continue serving their local communities and supporting thousands of jobs. They must also clarify how long these restrictions will be in place and what criteria the decisions for moving in and out of the tiering system will be based on. We urge the Government to work with us on this.”

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