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• LIVE: 'Staggering lack of action to save pubs'

By Emily Hawkins contact

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Live updates: latest on the Government's pub-related coronavirus restrictions (picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street via Number 10 on Flickr )
Live updates: latest on the Government's pub-related coronavirus restrictions (picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street via Number 10 on Flickr )

Related tags: Pubs, Coronavirus, lockdown, London, Scotland, England, Manchester, Liverpool, Legislation, Health and safety

The Morning Advertiser (MA) will bring you the latest news and reactions on its live blog, during the second national lockdown in England.

15.52 - Tier three for Greater Manchester?

The Guardian's​ north of England correspondent has reported that Mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham believes the area will be placed into tier three.

Pubs are not allowed to operate under the toughest measures of the tier system except for takeaway services.

15.45 - Christmas rules spell 'unnecessary damage'

Oakman Inns founder and chairman Peter Borg-Neal has said the Government's Christmas plans display a "lack of common sense".

Three households can form a bubble for the festive period, meaning multiple households can gather together in private homes. While the rule of six is permitted for pubs in tier one, different households will not be able to meet up at the pub over this period despite relaxed restrictions for private homes.

Pubs are safer environments than homes, Borg-Neal said. 

He added: "I just despair at the lack of common sense as much as the unnecessary damage to the hospitality industry."

 

15.14 - Business rates clarity needed

The pub sector has been campaigning for an extension of the business rates holiday beyond spring 2021.

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Business rates in England have been frozen from next April for 2021-22 and the Government has said it will review the situation next year.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said news of the review was "a glimmer of positive news," but "not nearly enough".

John Webber, head of business rates at Colliers International said he was disappointed Rishi Sunak had not mentioned anything about rates in his Spending Review this afternoon (Wednesday 25 November).

Webber said: "The Chancellor said this Review was all about 'jobs, jobs, jobs', but has forecast that, despite the measures he has revealed, the UK will see 2.6m unemployed by Q2 next year. It is incomprehensible how he can say that on one hand, but then ignore the cries of crucial sectors of our economy, particularly the retail and leisure/ hospitality sectors, who need clarity over whether they will facing massive business rates rises again in April next year, once their Covid-19 business rates 'holiday' comes to an end.”

“It’s also worrying that the Chancellor has not mentioned a timeline for when he will announce on the 'rates issue'. Although the statement today was not a tax review, it is inconceivable if he feels he can wait until the March Budget to discuss changes to the business rates system. By then many retailers will have made their plans for the forthcoming year and many of these will include closures and job losses in anticipation of the big bills coming through the letterbox."

Grant funding was needed to help save pubs too, the BBPA's McClarkin said in the aftermath of the Chancellor's Spending Review.

15.03 - 'Staggering lack of action to save pubs'

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association has said immediate additional support to save businesses and protect jobs is needed.

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She said: “The lack of action by the Chancellor to save pubs and jobs by giving them the proper support they need is staggering. It seems pubs have now been cast adrift by the Government. To save businesses and jobs the Chancellor needs to come back to the House this week and set out an enhanced package of support ahead of the new tier system coming into effect. 

“Not only is the Government unfairly rendering pubs unviable or forcing many of them to stay closed this Christmas, it isn't even giving them the full financial support they need to survive. Whilst the news of a review of business rates reliefs in the new year is a glimmer of positive news, it is not nearly enough.

“It’s all well and good investing in new jobs, but the actions of this Government are killing viable pub businesses and thousands of jobs that already exist. Yet the Government is not doing enough right now to help them survive nor Britain’s brewers that are reliant on them.  

“If our sector isn't allowed to trade properly, or at all, how on earth can the Chancellor expect it to survive and protect the livelihoods of the thousands of people working in it? Adequate grants need to be given to pubs urgently or they simply won't survive the new tier restrictions or Christmas."

13.01 - National Living Wage to rise

The National Living Wage will increase by 2.2% to £8.91 per hour. Sunak said this would benefit some £2m people.

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The Government will accept a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission and extend the wage entitlement to those aged 23 and over. Workers had to be 25 and older to qualify previously. 

The wage was expected to rise from £8.72 to £9.21 but this 5.6% increase was scrapped over concerns businesses would struggle.

12.56 - Chancellor 'cannot justify' across the board pay rise for public sector 

The Chancellor said he could not justify giving everyone in the public sector a pay increase, given the difficulty faced by those in hospitality in particular.

"In such a difficult context for the private sector, especially for those people working in hospitality, retail and leisure, I cannot justify a significant across the board pay increase across the public sector. Instead we're targeting our resources to where it's needed most," Sunak said.

NHS doctors and nurses will receive a rise but increases in the rest of the public sector will be paused next year.

However, public sector workers earning below £24,000 will receive a pay rise of at least £250. This means the majority of public sector workers will see an increase, according to the Government.

12.53 -  Unemployment forecast to hit 2.6m

Unemployment is expected to peak at 7.5% or 2.6m people, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Sunak said: "I'm announcing £3bn to help over a million people who, have been unemployed for over a year, find a new job."

12.47 - Sunak outlining Spending Review plans

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has started to address MPs on the Government's economic plan for the year ahead.

He said: "Our health emergency is not yet over and our economic emergency has only just begun."

Public services funding to tackle coronavirus will total £55bn, Sunak said. 

It has been forecast that the economy will shrink this year by 11.3%, marking the largest contraction for three centuries, he added.

The UK will borrow £394bn, the highest level of borrowing in peacetime.

12.24 - 'Hospitality is a safe space'

The Morning Advertiser's​ editor Ed Bedington has said pubs are being unfairly targeted by politicians.

He writes: "And now, we emerge from the latest lockdown, with new restrictions and tiering, all geared towards making life difficult, if not impossible for pubs and bars to operate – meanwhile, other businesses are allowed to operate regardless and when the virus continues to spread, where will the finger point once again?

"We need to recognise the reality of this situation - hospitality is a safe space. It is regulated, managed and monitored by responsible and reliable operators who are dying to get their businesses up and trading."

11.14 - Calls to 'save London' and place it in tier two

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been pushing for the Government to place the capital city into tier two rather than the toughest tier.

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Hospitality venues must remain close if in a tier three area but can open to serve substantial meals in tier two.

Tier two would be "the right and sensible decision," the Mayor said.

He added: "London’s unique ecosystem of bars, businesses, restaurants, clubs and cultural venues have been through an extremely tough year. If they had to close throughout the Christmas period and beyond in Tier 3 - it would be a hammer blow that many might not recover from."

Night time czar Amy also said tier two was integral to "save our city".

10.57 - Pub sector slams Christmas rules

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin has criticised the Government's announcement of eased rules over the festive period.

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Households can form a 'bubble' for a number of days but are not permitted to visit hospitality settings together, unless permitted by the rules in their tier.

“These plans for Christmas make a mockery of the extra restrictions being placed on pubs and the economic devastation they are facing this Christmas," she said.

“How can it be that pubs cannot properly open while households can mix in private settings? The Government data has consistently shown that house-to-house transmission is one of the highest, whereas hospitality has accounted for as little as 2% of Covid-19 incidences when open.

“Pubs are a controlled, safe and regulated environment to socialise in – following all Government guidelines and working with NHS Track and Trace.

“They are part of the solution for a safe and enjoyable Christmas, not the problem. It seems the Government has chosen to inflict unnecessary pain and irreversible damage on our sector without publishing evidence alongside these decisions.

“If the Government is really going to stop pubs from opening this Christmas then they must be fully compensated. Christmas is the most important time of the year for trade in our sector. This year more than ever."

10.54 - What are the rules for the Christmas period?

The Government announced it would ease restrictions to allow people to form a “Christmas bubble” for a number of days next month.

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Three households can meet in private homes for five days during the festive period, mix indoors and stay overnight.

A joint statement from the UK Government and devolved administrations about Christmas arrangements said: “We have agreed travel restrictions across the four administrations and between tiers will be lifted to provide a window for households to come together between 23 and 27 December.

“Up to three households can form an exclusive ‘bubble’ to meet at home during this period. When a bubble is formed, it is fixed and must not be changed or extended further at any point.

“Each Christmas bubble can meet at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place but existing, more restrictive rules on hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained throughout this period.”

10.03 - Wet-led pubs stung by new tier system 

Wet-led pubs placed in the two highest tiers of the new restrictions once lockdown is eased will collectively lose £1.5bn in turnover, it has been estimated.

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British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review tomorrow (Wednesday 25 November), asking him to provide emergency grants to pubs in a bid to help the survive winter.

This would be in line with the funding available in the first lockdown as the trade body estimated a huge majority (90%) of pubs placed in tiers two and three would operate at a loss.

The BBPA’s proposed emergency grants would be based on rateable value. Pubs with a rateable value of less than £15,000 should be eligible for £3,000 a month.

Wednesday 25 November, 09.20 - Chancellor to set out Spending Review

Good morning. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to give his Spending Review this afternoon. This review will detail the funding for different government departments for the financial year 2021-22.

(image by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street
(image by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Within the £4.3bn package, Sunak will allocate £2.9bn to a three-year Restart scheme to help unemployed people back into work, according to The Telegraph​ newspaper. Some £1.4bn will be put towards expanding Job Centre Plus capacity, Sunak is expected to announce.

He is also expected to announce £1.bn in 2021-22 for the Government's Kickstart scheme which will susbside new jobs for young people. What's more, Sunak will expand a £2000 incentive for employers to hire apprentices until March.

It has been speculated that the Chancellor is considering a pay freeze for all public sector workers with the exception of frontline NHS staff.

The pub sector has been pressing the Government to announce an extension of the current business rates holiday, which is set to end in March 2021. 

The review comes as the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has urged Sunak to deliver emergency grants to pubs in line with those in the first lockdown.

Support grants presently available for pubs forced to close do not come close to compensating pubs' for lost revenue and ongoing fixed costs, the BBPA said. Pubs can receive between £1,300 to £3,000 per month depending on their rateable value.

16.53 - Will the later curfew help pubs?

Publicans have dubbed an extended curfew time as a “distraction” and said it will do little to help revenues amid tougher restrictions elsewhere.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this afternoon​ (Monday 23 November) the 10pm curfew will be replaced with a rule of last orders at 10pm and all customers off the premises by 11pm.

The sector had been pushing the Government to #CancelTheCurfew​ and called for more evidence to justify the move. Operators also criticised the policy for resulting in crowded city centres and “bottlenecks” when everyone left at the same time.

Although a later cut-off was helpful, pubs will still suffer under the weight of further restrictions, licensees have said.

Co-founder of the Yummy Pub Co Tim Foster said he felt a “real mixed bag of emotions”. 

On the curfew extension, he said: “It is a concession to distract from what we believe to be the real threat – reducing the number of households allowed to meet up. 

“It is the right move by Government. We have been calling for it from the initial announcements. It was a ridiculous, ill-thought through approach led by inexperience in the field and [we] welcome it to go. But we are being left with incredibly tough trading models, especially in London."

16.16 -  Trade voice disappointment on social media

One licensee, Justine Lorriman of the Royal Dyche in Burnley, tweeted: "Can kiss goodbye to opening the pub on 2 December."

What's more, the BBPA's Emma McClarkin called for more grant support for those hit by the toughest rules.

She said: "Tiers announced by PM unfairly targets pubs & will force many to close for good. We continue to make the case for pubs reopening safely and viably this Christmas. If Government goes ahead with these tiers then it MUST deliver increased grant support for our sector."

16.09 - Recap: pubs to face tougher measures next month

The Morning Advertiser​ has summarised the new measures to be imposed on pubs after the lockdown is eased.

Those in tier one should work from home where possible. For the second tier, the new measures mean pubs can only serve alcohol if they serve a "substantial meal", something that will have a significant impact on wet-led pubs.

Under the new third 'very high' restrictions, pubs must close and only serve takeaway – the same service as in the national lockdowns.

While the statement was made today, MPs will vote on the measures later this week, Johnson said he hoped this would happen on Thursday (26 November). It is also expected the Government will announce where will be under each tier when lockdown is released later this week.

15.56 - Labour leader dubs tier system 'risky' 

Leader of the opposition Keir Starmer has responded to the Prime Minister's post-lockdown plans for England.

He called a return to the three-tier system "risky" and said the previous system "didn't work".

It was important the Government sets out which areas would be in which tiers quickly, he said. 

"There's huge concern among many businesses about their viability among tier three," Starmer said. He questioned whether the Government would introduce further support for businesses under severe measures.

15.53 - How will an area's alert level be determined?

The Prime Minister said the post-lockdown tiered system will be a "uniform one" with local leaders unable to negotiate any additional measures.

Tiers will be reviewed every two weeks and the tier an area is in will be determined using five criteria.

Boris Johnson outlined the following factors:

  • An analysis of cases among all age groups
  • An analysis of cases among over-60s, who are more vulnerable to coronavirus 
  • The R rate and how quickly cases are rising 
  • How many cases per thousand of the local population 
  • The projected pressure on NHS services in the area

15.49 - What are the changes to the tiered system?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed changes to the system of varying measures in England.

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In tier two, alcohol will only be permitted to be served with substantial meals.

In tier three, hotels and all forms of hospitality will remain close apart from to serve takeaways.

People should work from home where possible, the PM added.

Johnson confirmed it would be announced what tiers each area falls into on Thursday.

15.46 - Lockdown will end on 2 December

The Prime Minister has confirmed national restrictions in England will end on 2 December and will not be renewed.

The country will not be a "free-for-all" and will go back to a system of local measures.

"Our tiers need to be made tougher," Johnson said.

Tiers will now be a "uniform set of rules" with no negotiations on additional measures with local leaders.

The 10pm curfew on hospitality will be changed to last orders at 10pm and closing at 11pm, he confirmed.

15.10 - Pub sector waiting for Prime Minister's announcement

Boris Johnson is expected to outline the post-lockdown rules for English pubs later this afternoon.

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He is expected to address MPs at 3.30pm. 

Follow this live blog for updates.

13.55 - Vaccine trial progress 'incredibly encouraging'

The vaccine developed by the University of Oxford is highly effective at preventing people from developing coronavirus symptoms. 

Researchers have said the dose could ultimately offer up to 90% protection, after interim data suggested 70% protection.

The Prime Minister has called these results "incredibly encouraging".

It is expected that there will be restrictions on the hospitality sector and socialising until there is a roll-out of an effective vaccine.

12.50 - 'We followed every rule'

There has been more frustration from operators on social media. 

Director of Uphouse Pubs Martin Barnes has said: "We invested in making pubs COVID secure. We followed every rule & restriction regardless of any evidence to back them up."

12.10 - Pubs 'hung out to dry'

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA)'s chief executive Emma McClarkin has said there is a risk of losing the great British pub forever, if reports on the new rules are true.

She said: "If media reports are correct the new tiering system is disastrous for pubs - especially our wet-led community pubs. Our sector has been hung out to dry, the Government must compensate pubs for their lost trade or lose the great British pub forever."

12.04 - What does the trade think about possible post-lockdown rules?

The trade has slammed the Government for the possible measures it is set to impose​, once national lockdown restrictions are lifted next month (December).

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UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the predicted restrictions were "totally unacceptable".

BrewDog chief operating office David McDowall stated businesses of all sizes wouldn't survive the measures.

11.06 - 'Every right to be angry'

The Campaign for Real Ale has responded to reports of the new restrictions and said the rules would punish wet-led sites.

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CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona said: “Publicans across the country will be angry this morning, and they have every right to be. Once again, the hospitality sector is being singled out for further restrictions without evidence. This is a kick in the teeth to the vast majority of publicans who have invested money and time into making their premises Covid-secure, and for the consumers that were using pubs to socialise safely."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lay out the plans to MPs later today. It is expected pubs will be closed in tier three and only allowed to operate if they serve alcohol with main meals in tier two, in a tightening of the rules.

Areas will be designated a tier on Thursday ahead of a vote in the House of Commons.

Antona said: “CAMRA is particularly dismayed to see the extension of the ‘substantial meal’ requirement to pubs in tier two. Yet again, decision makers are punishing wet-led, community pubs. Publicans now face an excruciating wait for further details on which areas will sit in which tier – and after that many will have to make agonising decisions about the future of their businesses."

Restrictions on the sector should be matched with a substantive support package, the chairman added.

10.37 - Job Retention Bonus removal ‘creates £2.1bn black hole’

Removing the Job Retention Bonus means the hospitality sector is missing out on £2.1bn, a trade body has warned Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

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UKHospitality (UKH) has written to Sunak, calling for additional support, which is vital to ensure the trade survives a bleak winter and be in a position to help push economic growth next year.

Ahead of the Chancellor’s spending review, UKH said the industry will see Christmas sales severely depressed before heading into the worst quarter for sales – January to March.

10.04 - Anger in Greater Manchester over 'devastating' rules

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said the Government's Covid Winter Plan would be "devastating" for the hospitality sector.

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Family Christmases were being too heavily prioritised at the expense of the industry's December trade, Burnham said on BBC Radio 4's Today​ programme.

He said the new tiers “seem to be going too far before Christmas to allow too much over Christmas and that will lead to a huge loss of hospitality businesses, which I would say is too big a price to pay".

What's more, night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord called the restrictions "shambolic" and said he would push back against them.

He said: "I cannot and will not, just sit by and allow the Government to destroy hospitality. It will spell the end of the traditional pub as we know it."

09.47 - New rules 'have to be stronger' than before lockdown, Health Sec says

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed to Sky News that the new tiers would be "stronger" than the previous system.

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Hancock said rules after 2 December would "have to be stronger than the previous tiers", but pointed to mass testing and progress with vaccine trials.

It is thought the country will be spliced into larger regions than before.

The minister confirmed plans for the festive period were being worked on, following discussions with the devolved nations to agree on a collective approach. 

Hancock said: "We're working on those Christmas plans. We're trying to get an agreed set of plans across the four nations."

A decision on the festive period has not yet been agreed but there is expected to be a relaxation of socialising rules for a number of days. 

09.33 - 'Unjustified and unsubstantiated'

Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) chief executive James Calder has responded to the speculation of new rules for hospitality venues. Calder suggested the sector had been unfairly targeted compared to other sectors.

He said: "New T2 and T3 restrictions for pubs and hospitality, given what plans are for other sectors are unjustified and unsubstantiated. Will be working with other trade body leaders this morning to co-ordinate response."

 

09.00 - Post-lockdown plans to be set out today

Good morning. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will outline coronavirus measures for England after lockdown is lifted on 2 December.

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He is expected to announce changes to the regional system in a televised address this afternoon, at about 3.30pm

According to reports, the Covid Winter Plan will prioritise non-essential retail to help individuals do their Christmas shopping and include a five-day relaxation of socialising rules for the festive period, several newspapers have reported.

The 10pm curfew will be scrapped and replaced with an 11pm closing time and 10pm last orders.

Under tier three, hospitality would remain closed and only be permitted to operate takeaway. Mass testing will be introduced in all tier three areas to curb infections.

Pubs in tier two are to be told they must serve substantial meals, even to outdoor customers, it has also been reported.

This would be a tougher system than the pre-lockdown tiers, where businesses in tier three could operate if they served food with alcohol. Pubs in tier two could serve just alcohol but only to those from the same household if indoors.

Regions will be placed into tiers on Thursday and then the system will be subject to a vote by MPs.

15.55 - Review of the week

The Morning Advertiser's​ Ed Bedington spoke to Ed Turner of Buff and Bear Saloons to discuss the big issues from the news this week.

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"I don't personally agree with the Government's policy but that's what we are having to live with sadly. It's bloody hard to make a profit when you just don't know what you have to be doing," Turner said.

14.35 - 'Tweak the tiers,' petition urges

The Scottish Hospitality Group has launched a petition calling on the Scottish Government to "tweak the tiers" and save businesses.

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The petition asks for policymakers to:

1. Allow licensed premises in tiers two and three to trade until 10pm with customers allowed to stay two hours for a meal 

2. Provide grant funding for viable businesses that cannot open, such as wet-led pubs 

3. Waive business rates until at least March 2022 

4. Support 5% VAT across all hospitality revenue streams until at least March 2022 

5. Set up a working group with industry to explore how best to emerge and recover from Covid-19 

6. Honour its own youth guarantee launched only a few months ago by supporting this industry 

Group spokesperson Stephen Montgomery said: “This is a plea on behalf of the whole industry, not just our members. We are truly humbled by all the support we’ve had in such a short space of time but we need even more people to get behind the campaign. 

“It’s vital that we send the strongest possible message on behalf of the workers, suppliers and communities that rely on Scotland’s pubs, restaurants and hotels.” 

13.37 - Travel guidance to be made law in Scotland

Advice on non-essential travel will be made legally-binding from 6pm today, the First Minister has announced.

Nicola Sturgeon announced that residents in level three or four areas must not travel outside your local authority unless it is for an "essential" purpose.

Residents in other areas must not travel to areas under the toughest measures.

12.48 - VAT cut and business rates holiday top of operators' lists

Trade bodies UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) have called for urgent support for the sector.

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A survey by CGA found operators wanted to see further support on VAT and business rates as well as a review of coronavirus measures.

In the survey of over 400 different businesses who operate more than 20,000 venues across the UK, more than a half said an extension of the business rates holiday was essential to their future.

In a joint statement, the trade bodies said: “Beyond these, there is still much the Government can, and should, do to give beleaguered businesses a fighting chance of survival. This includes getting as much of the sector open as possible at the start of December.

“Rethinking the arbitrary 10pm curfew, which hamstrings venues, is a must. We also need to review the ban on household mixing inside venues in tier two regions, which is keeping friends and families apart.

“The restrictions being imposed on businesses before we went into the second lockdown were strangling trade and putting people out of business. If we exit this lockdown into similar, or worse, tighter, restrictions, it is going to be the end for thousands of businesses."

11.55 - 'Ready to work with you'

Greater Manchester night czar Sacha Lord has said he is ready to work with health secretary Matt Hancock to cancel the 10pm curfew.

The night-time economy adviser and operator has criticised the Government for the type of research it used to justify restrictions on the sector.

10.45 - Operators split about December reopening

Confidence in the sector about reopening in December was split in the latest edition of a trade survey.

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The Hospitality Leaders Poll conducted by Lumina Intelligence for The Morning Advertiser​, MCA​, Big Hospitality​ and Restaurant ​asked 271 respondents how confident they were that they would reopen on 3 December.

A third (33%) said fairly, 34% were not very confident, more than a tenth (15%) were not confident at all. Some 8% weren’t sure and just 9% were very confident.

Those surveyed were also asked if their business will survive if lockdown restrictions continue into the spring.

The most popular answer was maybe with 38% choosing that option, 32% said no and 30% said they were confident.

09.48 - What are the measures across Scotland?

A number of council areas in the west of Scotland face the toughest lockdown restrictions under the new level system.

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It marks the first time areas have been placed into level four of Scotland’s new tiered system of restrictions, which began at the start of November.

The series of restrictions are similar to the lockdown of the spring, with “non-essential businesses” closed and socialising between households banned. However, schools will remain open this time. They will come into force at 6pm today.

Sturgeon said there was “ground for continued and significant concern” about the levels of infection in the areas to be moved to level four.

Those council areas are: the City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

The areas of East Lothian and Midlothian will move down from level three to level two from Tuesday 24 November.

This means they will be able to serve alcohol with a meal until 8pm. 

The MA​ has mapped out the varying restrictions, as they would stand on Tuesday 24 November. 

Level zero is green, level one is yellow, level two is amber, level three is red and level four would be black.

Friday 20 November, 09.20 - 'Circuit-break' for Northern Ireland

Pubs in Northern Ireland will face further closure after its executive decided another two-week lockdown would begin 27 November.

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Bars and restaurants serving alcohol were scheduled to reopen on this date, after lockdown restrictions were imposed on 16 October.Hospitality is allowed to operate takeaway services.

Schools will stay open.

Health Minister Robin Swann said without intervention now further measures would likely have to be taken closer to the festive season.

He said: "Without this further intervention there was a very real risk of our hospitals being overwhelmed in the run up to Christmas.

"All of us now have to work really hard to achieve a happier festive season."

15.42 - Supermarkets most common exposure setting for coronavirus transmission 

Data from Public Health England (PHE) has suggested that supermarkets are the most frequent common exposure setting for those catching Covid-19 in England.

PHE used data from the NHS Test and Trace app to retrace the steps of 128,808 people who reporting testing positive between 9 November and 15 November.

A national lockdown began in England on Thursday 5 November, with pubs and bars closing across the country for the four-week shutdown.

Some 9,789 common locations were reported in total, with pubs and bars 1.6% of the locations reported. In comparison, supermarkets made up 18.3% of common locations reported in the PHE data. Secondary schools made up 12.7% while primary schools were 10.1%.

14.35 - 'Show us the evidence to merit restrictions'

Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord has said the level of uncertainty businesses have been left with is "not good enough".

He called on the Health Secretary to "work with us, not against us."

On the issue of what post-lockdown measures should be in place for the hospitality sector, Lord told The MA​: "I will support any measure which puts the health and safety of the public and businesses first, but only when a proper financial support package is in place and where clear evidence has been provided. 

"We have asked the Government numerous times to show us the evidence to merit the restrictions already imposed on the hospitality sector, but as yet this has not been received."

"Operators have worked tirelessly to abide by Government rules from the outset of the pandemic. They have accepted quick-fire lockdowns and spent thousands implementing the Government's own recommended Covid-secure measures."

He added: "If further measures are to be implemented, we must be provided with clear evidence that these proposed measures are necessary and will work."

13.56 -  CGA: ‘We will pull through this crisis’

The sector is living through its toughest period in eight years, but consumer data proves it will pull through, CGA chief executive Phil Tate has said.

Speaking at this year’s virtual Peach event, Tate highlighted the devastating impact the pandemic continues to have on hospitality but said there was reason to be positive as consumer behaviour is not set to change long-term.

Overall, the sector has seen a 40% decline in overall turnover so far year-on-year, equating to £53.3bn. One in five outlets are yet to reopen, 9,500 are predicted to close permanently or change hands and 64% of consumers ate and drank out less frequently than they usually would from July to October - approximately 88 million less visits to the on-premise market.

Despite this bleak picture, Tate emphasised the importance of data suggesting consumers would return to the market as soon as they were permitted to do so.

12.10 - Trade braces for Scotland's level four lockdown

Pubs in parts of the west of Scotland will be forced to shut for three weeks from 6pm on Friday 20 November. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced 11 council areas including Glasgow and Stirling would have tougher measures to curb infection rates.

Stuart Cook, joint managing director at Harviestoun Brewery, based at Alva, near Stirling, described the measures as "incredibly damaging to an industry already on its knees."

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He added: "This just piles on the pressure on Scottish pubs and the supply chains that support them.  

“Not only is this a devastating blow to the trade, but with no insight to when the industry can open again, the sector will be unable to plan for the its busiest time of year. 

“Harviestoun Brewery, just like all other breweries need a schedule so we can plan in and return to brewing for the pubs.  The level four announcement is of no help whatsoever in these almost terminal times for the Scottish on-trade.”

His words come after organisations representing the country's licensed trade dubbed the annoucement "the worst possible news" for operators.

Here are the local measures effective in Scotland at the moment.

11.59 - Pubs face EOTHO fraud checks

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is to begin compliance checks on Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) payments at approximately 4,000 hospitality businesses as it looks to recoup funds paid in error.

As part of post-payment measures to recover money distributed incorrectly, HMRC is writing to selected EOHO claimants stating they may need to repay some or all of the funds they received under the Government-backed scheme.

In the region of 84,700 hospitality businesses signed up to EOTHO, making in the region of 130,000 claims worth £522m. 

The scheme was also found to have pumped more than £250m​ into the Treasury and is credited with saving thousands of jobs.

However, HMRC has announced that it will be contacting businesses in an effort to determine whether or not they claimed for more EOTHO payments than they were entitled to. 

10.36 - Businesses need a week's warning before lockdown is lifted 

Firms need a clear exit strategy and guidance when coming out of the second lockdown with at least seven days' warning, one business organisation has urged the Government.

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The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which represents 190,000 companies, has called on the Government to take three steps to power recovery once restrictions are eased.

Alongside a clear plan for leaving lockdown, it also wants there to be long-term certainty on the business support available to firms and their supply chains.

It’s third point is to provide regular updates of the mass testing pilots and work with companies on deploying rapid testing in workplaces.

10.06 - Public Health England: tougher rules needed after period of relaxation 

Public Health England (PHE) clarified last night that modelling from scientists has suggested "for every one day of relaxation five days of tighter restrictions would potentially be needed."

A senior medical adviser to the Government, Dr Susan Hopkins had told journalists "two days of tighter measures" would be required for each day of easing.

PHE later said she misspoke and the modelling she referenced to actually suggested five days.

Leaders from the four devolved nations are discussing plans for a united approach to the festive period. It is understood a decision will be made closer to the time, based on the latest infection data.

Thursday 19 November, 09.48 - Safety should be factor for reopening not food-service

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has said pubs should be allowed to reopen based on their ability to provide a safe environment and not their food operations.

A YouGov conducted on behalf of CAMRA found that some 82% of consumers who have been to the pub at least once in the last six months felt hospitality businesses were Covid-secure spaces.

Pubs have invested heavily in improving the safety of their venues and should be allowed to open regardless of where they are in the country, the consumer group said.

Before the lockdown in England, pubs in areas with high infection rates were forced to shut under tier three measures unless they could serve alcohol with a substantial meal. 

CAMRA’s national chairman Nik Antona said: “Businesses should be allowed to open based on whether they can provide a COVID-secure environment - not based on whether they serve food. Publicans have invested thousands to keep their customers safe this year and comply with additional regulations and track and trace requirements, and this research shows that customers recognise this too. 

“We are particularly concerned that wet-led pubs have been hit by forced closure in Tier 3 areas even before lockdown and have been left out from the VAT reductions that only apply to food and non-alcoholic drinks, despite needing support just as much as other hospitality venues.  It’s vital that they are given the chance to trade after lockdown ends."

The group has echoed industry calls for a review of the 10pm curfew.

15.42 - No 'definitive statement' on Christmas in Wales this week

The Welsh health minister has said there will be no confirmation of any plans about the festive period for a while.

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Vaughan Gething said it could even be "weeks" before plans are announced.

Ministers from the four devolved nations are discussing a united approach for the Christmas period.

Gething told journalists earlier today: "You shouldn't expect there to be a definitive statement in the next few days or weeks.

"We have quite a long way to go in the course of the pandemic we've been dealing with before we get to the Christmas period."

14.28 - 'It's not going to be a happy Christmas'

Operator Brendan Padfield runs the Unruly Pig in Suffolk and has shared his thoughts on preparing for Christmas with so much uncertainty. 

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He said planning at his site has worked on the basis that a tier system and social distancing requirements "will still very much be in place."

Padfield added: "We have therefore never planned for large Christmas parties taking place – they were just never going to happen. We had hoped however that we would see an increase in smaller office parties of up to six. That could still happen if the rule of six still applies but plainly not if the BMA recommendations of a two bubble system is that rule’s replacement.

"We had already adopted very stringent anti Covid-19 measures that went way over and above what the government had prescribed. So whatever Government controls end up being in place for Christmas, we have our fingers and toes crossed that our existing reputation for taking very stringent safety measures, will stand us in good stead.

"We have of course planned some income mitigation steps e.g we are offering Christmas hampers and Heat at Home Christmas meals (where there has been good interest already). But the elephant in the room remains: come what may our comparative income is going to significantly adversely hit. It’s not going to be a happy Christmas for pubs. It’s blow upon bitter blow at the moment."

13.17 - Trade figures demand clarity on reopening 

Hospitality industry leaders have called on the Government to outline a post-lockdown roadmap for business operators in order to help them navigate eased restrictions next month (December).

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UKHospitality (UKH) chief executive Kate Nicholls and Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay appeared in front of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) yesterday (Tuesday 17 November) with a number of other company bosses.

Nicholls laid out how the trade had been impacted by restrictions since the first enforced closure in March.

“You have to go back quite a considerable period of time for hospitality to have been without significant restrictions," she said.

“The key point is our businesses never really came out of restrictions in July. We were allowed to reopen but we had significant controls – social distancing, additional control measures around groups of six – which meant we never got above breakeven before we had a return to national restrictions in September.

“You’ve got three phases really of successive increases in restrictions in hospitality, in mid-September when we had curfew, face coverings, table service, that reduces revenues by about a third. A further wipe off of a third as you move into the tier restrictions, closures and a ban on mixed households socialising."

11.55 - What do doctors think Christmas policy should be?

The British Medical Association (BMA) has outlined the policies it would like to see in place for the festive period, including increasing the social distancing guidance for businesses to 2m.

In England, pubs must distance tables at least 1m apart provided other coronavirus protocols are in place. Welsh businesses must ensure tables are 2m apart.

The BMA, a trade union representing doctors in the UK, said the Government must tighten rules to limit the spread of coronavirus when England leaves lockdown next month.

It has recommended:

  • Abolishing the rule of six with a two-household "bubble" system to reduce interactions between different households.
  • Banning travel between areas under different tiers.
  • Businesses should be committed to legal requirements and not guidance.
  • People should continue to 'work from home' where they can.
  • Socialising outdoors should be encouraged.
  • A 2m requirement between tables in hospitality venues.
  • More funding for businesses to install screens and signs.
  • Masks should be worn indoors where social distancing cannot possible and even outside sometimes.

11.24 - Tell us your Christmas planning process

Pubs across the country are facing anxiety and uncertainty at a time when they would usually be preparing to devise new menus and hire seasonal staff.

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The MA​ would like to know how you are planning for Christmas trade amid nervousness about what regulations will be in place next month.

  • How much have you planned for the festive period so far? What are your expectations? Let us know on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz​ 

10.49 - Cancelling curfew 'make or break'

Greater Manchester night time economy adviser Sacha Lord has urged Health Secretary Matt Hancock to consider the impact of tier three restrictions on wet-led community pubs.

He also said the 10pm curfew should not be imposed on the sector again, citing health concerns of crowded streets.

10.03 - 'We just have to see'

Business Secretary Alok Sharma has said it is too early to reach any "conclusions" about Christmas policy, when asked about newspaper speculation.

He told BBC Breakfast​: "What none of us knows right now is what the infection rate is going to be in different parts of the country. My clear view here is, let's work our why through this, let's keep doing our bit, as we get to 2 December the Government will set out more details and then we need to keep bearing down on the infection.

"We just have to see where we get to."

Wednesday 18 November, 09.35 - Speculation builds over Christmas plans

Good morning and welcome back to The MA'​s live blog. Several newspapers have led with reports of what policies Government ministers are considering for the Christmas period.

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The Daily Express​ has reported the Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants a three-day "window" of eased restrictions for the festivities. It reports proposals would see three households socialise with an overall limit on numbers being discussed. 

What's more, The Telegraph​ has said it understands ministers are considering a ban on households mixing indoors after the lockdown lifts next month to allow more flexibility around Christmas.

Ministers will reveal an "end of lockdown" package next week ahead of a vote in the House of Commons, the newspaper suggested.

The Sun​ has reported that household mixing may be allowed for five day period between 24 December and 28 December.

16.11 - 'How can pubs be responsible?' 

The trade has been responding to Nicola Sturgeon's announcement of pub closures across the west of Scotland.

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The Scottish Hospitality Group has questioned the focus on hospitality given rates have remained high despite heavy restrictions on pubs for several weeks.

Group spokesperson Stephen Montgomery said: “Since most hospitality businesses are either shut or virtually empty, how can they possibly be responsible for the spread of the virus? Some parts of the country are even seeing increases and it’s certainly not because people are out drinking or socialising in our premises."

Montgomery said the science pointed to household transmission being the main factor.

The group is calling for off-trade sales of alcohol to be cut off at 10pm in level two areas.

Montgomery added: "If alcohol was really that much of an issue then off-sales would have been restricted, but instead people are allowed to make spur-of-the-moment purchases to socialise with friends or family at home.

"Not only do homes lack the safety measures that we have in our businesses, for example the legal trace and protect system, but there’s no visibility of the problem for the government and people are never going to self-report that they’ve been breaking the rules.”

15.06 - Scottish pub sector 'in crisis' 

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has dubbed Sturgeon's announcement as "the worst possible news for the licensed hospitality industry."

The SLTA’s managing director, Colin Wilkinson, said many operators would now be considering permanently closing their sites.

Wilkinson said: “Many operators in levels two and three areas have already taken the reluctant decision to close down their businesses as it is simply unviable to operate with the current restrictions on the sale of alcohol and the operating times that are currently in place. Even hotels and restaurants serving food feel defeated by these unnecessarily complex and ever-changing guidelines.

“Moving into level four suggests that the closing of pubs and bars in October in five health board areas, prior to the introduction of the tier system, has done little to bring down the rate of Covid-19 infections.

“And yet again, there has been no meaningful engagement with our industry and there has been no evidence to prove that the virus is being spread within the licensed hospitality sector.

“We reiterate that we support the goal of suppressing the virus – of course we do. But we also reiterate that we are a sector in crisis with hundreds of businesses facing permanent closure and thousands of jobs hanging in the balance. Sadly, for some, the damage is already irreparable."

14.29 - Pubs forced to close in 11 areas in Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced eleven local council areas will move from level three to level four from Friday 20 November. The measures will last for three weeks, until 11 December.

Pubs will be forced to shut but schools can remain open under level four. Takeaway services are permitted.

Pubs must shut in the following areas:

  • City of Glasgow
  • Renfrewshire
  • East Renfrewshire
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • West Dunbartonshire
  • North Lanarkshire
  • South Lanarkshire
  • East Ayrshire
  • South Ayrshire
  • Stirling
  • West Lothian 

The areas of East Lothian and Mid Lothian will move down from level three to level two, she added.

13.20 - JD Wetherspoon closes almost 50 pubs until restrictions relaxed

Pub behemoth JD Wetherspoon has shut three quarters (75%) of its pubs in Scotland and these will remain closed until measures are relaxed.

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A reopening date for these sites has not yet been revealed.

JDW spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We can confirm 46 of our 61 pubs in Scotland will close from 6pm on Saturday (14 November) and reopen when restrictions are eased and our pubs can trade more normally.

“We look forward to reopening our pubs in due course.”

12.32 - 'Get as much of sector open as quickly as possible'

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has outlined the trade body's asks of the Government, ahead of the lockdown being lifted next month.

She tweeted: "Key messages to MPs today - we need early confirmation of reopening in December, advance notice of which parts of the country are in which tier, clear, transparent, evidence based restrictions which are targeted and effective, stability not weekly changing, a clear end date. 

She continued: "That's the 30 day plan - we the need a 90 day plan to support business: plug the £1.5bn blackhole in hospitality cashflows from Job Retention bonus being scrapped; stem the £0.5bn per month cash burn from being closed; extend rent moratoria; extend rates and VAT suppt thru 2021.

"Best way to support hospitality is to get as much of the sector open as quickly as possibly and with as few additional restrictions as possible (commensurate with public health) bearing in mind significant controls introduced in July which have kept teams and customers safe."

12.21 - 5 year recovery for Greater Manchester night life

Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester has published a blueprint of recommendations for 2021​. 

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He said there should be a focus on the mental health of those working in the hospitality sector, which has faced massive financial uncertainty and change. 

Lord predicted it would take five years before the region's sector returned to its pre-lockdown levels.

He said: “Among the many priorities we have listed in this year’s blueprint, perhaps most important to me is an ongoing focus on mental health. This year has had a terrible impact on many within our industry and as a sector, which is typically disproportionately affected by mental health diagnoses, this is an area I will continue to focus on going forward so that no one feels alone, scared or hopeless about their future.”

“To say 2020 has been the hardest year I have personally experienced is an understatement, yet despite the difficulties ahead, I remain confident in the resilience of Greater Manchester’s nightlife scene and its ability to return bigger and brighter, albeit looking significantly different.”

“I wholeheartedly believe that the sector plays a critical part of the growth and leading status of our city-region however its with a heavy heart that I estimate it will take at least five years to recover to pre-pandemic levels.”

11.46 - 'Greater consistency' an aim for post-lockdown tiers

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has told BBC Breakfast​ the Government will consider whether or not to return to pre-lockdown tiers.

He said: "I think in the new tiers we would like greater consistency, and we will have to look at the evidence to see which of those measures [were] actually the most impactful on the virus, so that we take the most evidence-based approach that we can do."

"We haven't come to a conclusion on that yet, to be perfectly honest, but we will be within the next week or so."

10.51 - Business interruption test case reaches Supreme Court

The landmark business interruption test case pitting the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) against insurers is currently being heard at the Supreme Court, but it could be weeks before a decision is made.

During the first lockdown in March, thousands of businesses including pubs, across the country claimed on their business interruption insurance due to the enforced closure of venues.

Insurance companies hit back, disputing claims and arguing policies were not meant to cover unprecedented measures.

10.25 - 'Show us the evidence'

Chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) James Calder has described reports that Government scientists want to ban indoor mixing as "most worrying".

His comments come after The Times​ reported comments​ by Dr Susan Hopkins, who described pre-lockdown tier one measures as having little impact on reducing rates of infection.

Calder tweeted: "This is most worrying. I've asked for it dozens of times but once again; SHOW US THE EVIDENCE of how pubs, taprooms and hospitality aren't safe and are responsible for spreading infection."

09.39 - Scottish pubs braced for closure announcement 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce whether the highest level of coronavirus restrictions are to be introduced in the west of Scotland.

Glasgow

Under the highest level, level four, pubs would be closed alongside other "non-essential" businesses.

Nowhere in Scotland has yet been placed into this level yet but ministers are becomingly increasingly worried about the "stubbornly high" rates of infection in areas like Glasgow.

Take a look at The MA'smap of the measures in force across Scotland as it stands.

Tuesday 17 November, 9.20 - Tier system should be 'strengthened' 

Good morning and welcome back to The MA's​ lockdown live blog.

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Several newspapers are reporting ministers are finalising proposals for how to "save families' Christmas" after concerns the lockdown may simply be replaced with equally restrictive measures.

The Prime Minister's spokesman told The Telegraph​ newspaper​: "Those measures will be coming to an end on December 2. They will expire in law. We are committed to setting out next week what the replacement regime will be. That will be a return to the localised approach, and we are actively working on those plans at the moment."

At last night's coronavirus briefing, led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Public Health England's Dr Susan Hopkins said the tier system would have to be "strengthened" after the lockdown.

In particular, she said tier one - with restrictions including the rule of six and 10pm curfew but permitting indoor socialising - had had "very little effect".

Hopkins said: "I think when we look at what tiers may be there in the future, we will have to think about strengthening them in order to get us through the winter months until the vaccines are available for everyone."

15.43 - 'Impossible' to forecast impact of pub closures

The Treasury's chief economist admitted it did not forecast the economic impact of closing pubs and other measures on the trade.

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Clare Lombardelli told the Commons Treasury committee: "We haven’t got specific forecasts or estimates of very, very specific measures."

She said it "would be very hard, even impossible," to estimate the precise impact of closing pubs and bars.

She was questioned by the chair of the committee, Mel Stride, who said: “Just because something’s hard and it’s difficult doesn’t mean to say it shouldn’t be done.”

Steven Alton, CEO of the British Institute of Innkeeping said trade bodies had been extensively researching the impact of measures on their members.

He said: “While we understand that specific analysis of the impact of the restrictions on our sector would be difficult to produce, we have been working directly with Government at all levels since the beginning of this crisis, to share with them the impact of restrictions to the contribution that pubs make into the Treasury and to the employment of hundreds of thousands of people.

“While the Treasury has recognised the size of our sector in their comments and is therefore aware of the potential impact of devastating business failure, there must also be recognition of the massive social value that pubs provide to our local communities which cannot always be easily represented in monetary terms. 

"We must protect the heritage of our pubs and the communities who rely on them for help, support and human connection, now, more than ever.”

Stride has called for the Treasury to publish its analysis of interventions.

15.19 - Nightclubs mourn eight months closed

Campaign group #SaveNightclubs​ has written an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the eighth month of nightclubs being closed.

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The letter states: "Venues are facing mounting rent bills, ongoing running costs and the prospect of business rates in April 2021. We urge the government to prevent a devastating tsunami of job losses, a wipeout of future economic contributions and further ruin to towns and cities across the UK which are already on their knees."

Signatories - from a number of operators including Koko and Tokio Industry - have asked the Government for:

  • A financial survival package beyond the Recovery Fund to aid long-term recovery of the sector.
  • Protection from eviction for nightclubs during and immediately after the crisis.
  • An extension of business rate relief to April 2022.

Sector voices told The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ the UK risked losing its position as a world leader in electronic music and club culture.

15.04 - Pubs need ‘early warning' from Government over post-lockdown tiers

The Morning Advertiser's​ Ed Bedington spoke to Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin of Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars to discuss the big issues from the news this week.

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Bird described the series of coronavirus measures on his business as "death by a thousand cuts." 

"Since then we have locked down again. So it is a challenge and this time round it has been probably more of a challenge keeping our teams' morale. They didn't want to go home, they didn't want to give up. They have gone on the rollercoaster with us and have been amazing."

14.39 - Pubs in west of Scotland warned of closures

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said areas in the west of Scotland may be the first to be placed into the highest level of coronavirus measures.

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The minister said the Scottish Government had been in contact with councils in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Lanarkshire health board areas about the possibility of tougher rules being imposed next week.

Swinney said anywhere placed under level four – involving closure of hospitality – would need to remain in that level for "a reasonable amount of time" to see an impact.

The Scottish Government has also said it is concerned about a rise in infection in Stirling, presently under level three, and Aberdeenshire, presently under level two.

Here is The MA'smap of what restrictions are hitting which local areas in Scotland.

14.30 - Chancellor suggests he is not considering EOTHO again

Chancellor Rishi Sunak agreed with a journalist who tweeted that his comments had not been a "hint" to another discount scheme.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme saw pubs subsidised by the Government for offering punters discount dishes in the summer.

13.41 - How has the tier system impacted breweries?

Director of Manchester Union Brewery Will Evans was among brewers to share his experience with The Morning Advertiser (MA)​.

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He said the tier system had meant “hugely severe reductions in on-trade volume” for his brewery.

“We’re just waiting for the pubs to be open,” he said. “Tier three was a real disaster for us, and the 10pm curfew was a disaster too.”

“Everyone is quite pragmatic and understands if something needs to happen then it needs to happen,” Evans said, reiterating the sector’s calls for more evidence to justify the health benefits of tight measures on venues.

“It feels that hospitality has been adversely affected because it's an easy way to attempt to make some difference.”

12.05 - Eat Out to Help Out again?

It was reported yesterday (12 Thursday November) the Chancellor has been considering a winter version of August's meals discount scheme.

Would you support this? Vote in our survey.

Survey

Would you support another Eat Out to Help Out scheme?

  • Yes

    52%
  • No

    48%

12.01 - Tiered system ‘further depressed sales’ in October

Regional coronavirus restrictions last month (October) pushed managed pub, restaurant and bar group sales into reverse, new research has found.

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The Coffer Peach Business Tracker revealed with more than three quarters (83%) of group-owned sites open, total sales across the managed sector fell by 33.9% on the same month last year.

This was a deterioration from September when sales were 20.3% below 2019 levels and August when they were 12.2% down.

The data also found all parts of the market performed worse than in September with like-for-like sales in trading businesses more than a quarter (28.9%) below October last year, compared to a 14.7% drop in September.

The research, which is produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM, included 56 companies, with 9,295 sites open between them, and provided data to the October Tracker.

10.23 - MP barred from town pubs after backing curfew

An MP has been barred for life from a number of pubs in his Cheshire constituency after voting for the 10pm curfew.

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Some 30 venues have banned Warrington South MP Andy Carter after the local Pubwatch group voted unanimously to ban him.

The MP said the nighttime safety group should not be used for political purposes, according to the BBC.

He also said the Government had helped the hospitality sector with policies such as grant funding and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Friday 13 November, 09.27 - Lockdown extended in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s executive has decided to push back a partial reopening of some sectors, with pubs and bars opening much later than other businesses.

image: K Mitch Hodge via Flickr
image: K Mitch Hodge via Flickr

The nation has been under lockdown restrictions since 16 October that were set to expire at midnight today (Friday 13 November).

A proposal from the DUP was backed by the Ulster Unionists and Alliance while Sinn Féin voted against and the SDLP abstained.

Businesses such as cafes and coffee shops will be able to reopen on 20 November, alongside close contact services like hair and beauty salons.

Hospitality venues allowed to reopen in a week’s time must close at 8pm and cannot sell or allow customers to consumer alcohol on their premises.

The reopening of licensed venues will be “graduated”, meaning pubs and bars will be allowed to sell sealed off sales on 20 November.

However, a full reopening will take place on 27 November, as initially intended.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said: “This past four days, days I certainly didn't seek, the choice became a quick but wrong decision or to actually fight and get us to a better and balanced decision."

"You know sometimes compromise doesn't come easy and it has to be fought for to secure it.”

14.30 – Winter Eat Out to Help Out?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak could announce a scheme to encourage diners to eat out in winter, reports have suggested.

Sunak told Sky News​: "We want to get consumers spending again, get them out and about, we'll look at a range of things to see what the right interventions are at that time."

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme ran in August and more than 100m discounted meals were consumed, with a number of pub groups continuing an offer into autumn.

11.02 - 10pm curfew for New York bars

Licensed venues in New York will have to close at 10pm, it has been announced.

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Venues can still serve takeaway, with the exception of alcohol, after this time.

Private indoor gatherings of 11 or more will also be banned, in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Thursday 12 November, 10.04 - Senior appointments at Wadworth, BrewDog, Upham and City Pub Group, unprecedented traffic to pub recruiter

Amid announcements of record redundancies, rebounding pub share prices and furlough extension, The Morning Advertiser ​takes a look at a number of pub companies announcing boardroom shake-ups.

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16.46 - Where are pubs under the strictest measures in Scotland?

The Morning Advertiser​ has mapped out which local areas in Scotland are hit by which measures.

14.40 - 'Fancy giving the sector some insight?'

The operator behind the Yummy Pub Company, Tim Foster, has urged the Government to provide hospitality with reopening guidance in good time.

In the first lockdown, the trade was given guidance for reopening at a short notice despite sector representatives consistently lobbying the Government to give them enough time to order stock, train staff and ensure safety protocols were in place.

14.10 - Scottish system a 'sucker punch' for trade

The Scottish Hospitality Group has called on the Scottish Government to ‘tweak the tiers’ of restrictions imposed on pubs in different areas unless it can provide more evidence to justify tough rules. 

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Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said: “Remaining in the current tiers, or even worse moving up a tier, is a sucker punch for hard-working hospitality staff who face losing their jobs. The government asked us for refinements to the current restrictions that would protect the public and allow us to trade viably. We provided those recommendations, but they were completely ignored.”

Fife, Angus and Perth and Kinross will be moved from level two to level three of the country's tiered system of restrictions, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday.

Pubs in these areas will not be allowed to serve alcohol.

12.24 - JD Wetherspoon outlines lockdown hit

JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has estimated the ‘cash burn’ of the month-long enforced closure of its pubs under national lockdown will be approximately £14m.

In a trading update for the 15 weeks to 8 November 2020, the pub giant also revealed its like-for-like sales dropped by more than a quarter (27.6%).

It stated sales in October were significantly lower than previous months following the requirements of new restrictions.

Currently, 756 JDW pubs in England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are closed with the company highlighting that the sites will remain shut until it gets Government guidance that they can reopen.

The group also has 64 trading pubs in Scotland and 51 in Wales and reported the tier system in Scotland is having a “serious effect on trade”.

11.19 - Fourth tier of restrictions on the cards?

A number of media outlets have published speculative reports that the Government is considering another level of coronavirus restrictions after the English lockdown finishes.

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The Telegraph​ reported the Government was open to adding another stricter tier of measures to the existing three tier system should virus rates not fall fast enough.

It said the country would be divided into larger regions in the hope that simplifying the process would encourage people to stick to rules.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted the country will return to a tiered approach of measures when lockdown restrictions expire on 2 December​.

However, the Government has suggested these restrictions would not be exactly the same as before the lockdown.

The Government plans to set out what the tiered system looks like a week before lockdown ends on 2 December, according to the newspaper's report.

10.23 - How has the lockdown impacted breweries?

Adam Keary, managing director at Camden Town Brewery has told The MA​ rapidly changing restrictions have resulted in the brewery's sales "being extremely volatile, making it very difficult to forecast."

Adam Keary

He said: "We need at least four weeks to brew our beers, so are having to second guess what the situation will be like and how the governments restrictions will evolve. Beer is best when it’s drunk fresh so we’re constantly battling between pouring beer away when we have too much and disappointing our customers when we don’t have enough."

Since the English lockdown was announced, the brewery has focused on how its team can be productive in the lockdown and changing its brew plans. This means diverting beers in tank from being packaged in kegs to being canned. The brewery has also hibernated its pub customer's cellar and beer dispense systems so they will be operational when reopening is allowed.

Keary added: "We have many parts of the hospitality sector in financial trouble, and that ultimately that will mean that some won’t survive.  When a pub goes into administration, it doesn’t stop there, all of their suppliers are affect through bad debt , the community is affected through limiting the number of safe spaces where they can meet, the local band or quiz master no longer has a venue to play at, etc. Pubs have long been the heart of a community, and we will see significant knock-on impacts across all parts of a community when pubs shut."

10.10 - SIBA to call for 'timetable for return to full normality,'

Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) boss James Calder has said a joint letter from the industry is being sent to the Prime Minister today, calling for "proportionate, sensible measures" after the lockdown.

He tweeted: "Just some thoughts on the next few weeks and months. We as an industry are focussed (joint industry letter to PM going today) on opening on December 2nd. Proportionate, sensible measures for pubs and taprooms. Christmas period is critical, obviously but I'm also keen to push the idea that if a vaccine is rolled out quickly to the most vulnerable in society (immune suppressed aside) then we as an industry should be pushing for a timetable for how we can return to full normality.

"Critical to this will be, of course how Government deliver on the logistics of the vaccine (and if it is cleared for use). Government are treading a fine line in offering hope at the end of the tunnel, but not over-promising/under delivering. Realistically, we need to be prepared for continuing restrictions for at least the next quarter, if not longer.

"We're in a position now whereby discussions and decisions made by Government will stick - for a long time. It's our job to ensure those decisions are ones which ensure a long term, sustainable future for independent brewing."

Wednesday 11 November, 09.22 - 'Cure could be worse than disease'

More than 50 MPs have formed a group to push back against further lockdowns in England, arguing it would cause economic devastation.

Conservative MPs have said the Government is running the risk of a cure worse than the disease.

The Covid Recovery Group have said the country must learn to live with coronavirus after the national lockdown in England expires next month.

MP Mark Harper told the BBC: "Lockdowns cost lives, whether in undiagnosed cancer treatments, deteriorating mental health, and missed A&E appointments - not to mention the impact it has on young people's education, job prospects and our soaring debts," he said.

"The cure we're prescribing runs the risk of being worse than the disease."

Boris Johnson saw several of his own MPs rebel against the Government in the vote for England's current lockdown.

14.38 - Restrictions imposed on more pubs in Scotland 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that three more Scottish councils will face tougher measures.

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Fife, Angus and Perth and Kinross will be moved from level two to level three of the country's tiered system of restrictions.

Pubs in these areas will not be allowed to serve alcohol.

Sturgeon said "it will not be prudent to ease restrictions today," though no areas have yet been placed in the strictest level (level four).

"There is no doubt the restrictions we have put in place and that people are abiding by have dramatically slowed the spread of the virus," she said.

13.55 - NHS ready to give out vaccine from 1 December

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told MPs the NHS will be ready to roll out a vaccine from 1 December, should one be approved.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been found to be 90% effective in early analysis.

Hancock said the vaccine will only be approved once it is confirmed to be safe but the UK has secured £40m doses.

"We do not have a vaccine yet but we are one step closer," he said.

12.57 - Pubs use social media to keep community engagement going

As with the first lockdown, pubs have been using social media to keep connected with their regulars.

Here are some examples:

12.48 - 'Time is running out' to save Greater Manchester pubs

Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord has asked the Government to provide more evidence to justify his area being placed into the toughest tier of virus measures.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said England will be spliced into tiers of measures once more after the current four-week lockdown expires on 2 December.

Greater Manchester was previously in the strictest tier, where pubs had to shut unless they could sell alcohol with a substantial meal and households were not allowed to mix.

Lord wrote to health secretary Matt Hancock to ask for the data supporting the closure of wet-led sites and the 10pm curfew on pubs and bars.

The night czar said: “We have still not seen any clear evidence to merit these moves, and with just three weeks to go, we feel time is running out to save the sector. 

“We have been left in limbo or been given last minute rule changes on more than one occasion during this pandemic, but now is the Government's chance to show they take this sector seriously.”

 

12.30 - Hospitality 'given the highest mountain to climb in order to survive'

Figures released today show redundancies reached a record level in the three months to September, with hospitality particularly affected.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that sectors defined as "accommodation and food service activities" had the highest redundancy rate, ahead of the construction sector.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The figures released by the ONS today underline the dreadful hit that hospitality has taken during this crisis and reinforces the urgent need for targeted support.

“Our sector has seen the highest fall in jobs of any. We are entering another period that is likely to be incredibly difficult for us. Businesses are in lockdown once again and when they do reopen, it will be back into a severely restrictive environment.

“Government support should recognise that hospitality is being asked to operate under the toughest restrictions of any sector and being given the highest mountain to climb in order to survive – we need a new approach from 3rd December.”

11.31 - 12k venues forced to close before lockdown

Trading restrictions meant almost a third of Britain’s licensed premises shut their doors on October – signalling the sector could be substantially reduced upon reopening in December, new research has found.

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The Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners found almost seven in 10 (69.9%) of Britain’s total licensed premises were trading at the end of October – a drop of more than 10 percentage points on sites open a month earlier (80.4%) and equivalent to almost 12,000 venues closing their doors by the end of October.

The report showed many of the closures in October were triggered by the Government’s tiered system.

About half (52.8%) of licensed premises in the ‘very high’ tier were open at the end of October compared to 83.6% in the ‘medium’ tier and 82.8% in the ‘high’ tier.

Read the full story.

10.26 - UK risks losing 'world leader' status if nightclubs left to rot, says NTIA boss

The Night Time Industries Association’s (NTIA) CEO, Michael Kill has said a lack of financial support for British nightclubs is threatening the country's cultural reputation.

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In an interview with The Morning Advertiser (MA)​, Kill said: “Nightclubs have made a huge contribution to our globally renowned culture sector.

“Electronic music is what we are known for globally, we are a world leader and UK clubs have been that breeding ground for contemporary music talent, events and DJ's for decades.

“We will lose our status, our talent and the huge army of professionals who create experiences that make us what we are today.

“The concern is we will lose these people to countries around the world, if we don't start to value contemporary music culture, in line with countries like Germany, Holland and Belgium." 

Tuesday 10 November, 09.34 - Industry cautiously optimistic over vaccine news 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged caution at his press briefing last night (Monday 9 November), following news of progress in the quest for a Covid-19 vaccine.

He encouraged the public to continue to comply with lockdown restrictions and said restrictions to lower the rate of infection would still be critical in preventing the spread of the virus.

Boris Johnson said the country must not soften its resolve despite progress on a coronavirus vaccine (image: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street via Number 10 on Flickr)
Boris Johnson said the country must not soften its resolve despite progress on a coronavirus vaccine (image: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street via Number 10 on Flickr)

Johnson said the UK would be ready to distribute a vaccine once it was approved and reiterated his expectation that current lockdown measures in England would expire next month.

Pub companies experienced share price jumps in the aftermath of the news from developers Pfizer and BioNTech​.

Of the new vaccine, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nichols said: "The reported breakthrough on a vaccine is clearly very good news for public health and for the economy.

"We should not pin all our hopes on what could still prove to be a false dawn but, should this vaccine make it to rollout stage, it cannot come soon enough.

"Hospitality operators will be boosted by the strong sense of stability it brings, enabling longer-term planning of investment, employment and growth, not to mention planning the welcoming customers back to their much loved venues."

Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord was also hesitant and said those in the sector should continue to comply.

17.07 - Prime Minister addresses vaccine hope in coronavirus briefing

Boris Johnson is addressing the public this evening.

He said "one significant hurdle" has been cleared with today's news of progress in the trial for a coronavirus vaccine.

However, he said it would be a mistake to become complacent at a critical moment and pointed to rising death figures.

“We absolutely cannot rely on this news as a solution and the biggest mistake we could make now is to soften our resolve," he said.

Restrictions to lower the rate of infection are still necessary "irrespective" of the welcome news, he said.

(image: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)
(image: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)

Pfizer and BioNTech said early analysis has suggested their vaccine is at least 90% effective against coronavirus, resulting in pubco stocks rising this afternoon.

Johnson said the country "will be ready" to use the vaccine once it is approved.

He reiterated his intentions to return to a tiered system after 2 December​, when the lockdown in England expires.

16.44 - Pub hit with maximum fine after breaking rules

Pubs have been warned not to break coronavirus rules after one site was slapped with a £10,000 fine.

West Midlands Police said it issued a “super fine” of £10,000 after it found a lock-in at a pub in Digbeth, Birmingham.

Around 40-50 people were discovered breaking coronavirus restrictions at The Spotted Dog at 11pm on Friday 30 October.

Members of different households were found to be mixing with no social distancing inside the pub an hour after the curfew.

15.15 - Virus vaccine hope sees pubco shares rise

Major pubco share prices rocketed today following the announcement of a coronavirus vaccine by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech.

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Some 40m doses of the vaccines have been ordered by the UK Government, with around 10m of them expected to be ready for use by Christmas, it has been reported.

The announcement of the jab sparked London’s stock market into action and, at the time of reporting, the FTSE 100 was on track to have its best day since March this year.

At around midday today (Monday 9 November), Mitchells & Butlers PLC saw its share price rocket by over 26%.

JD Wetherspoon PLC saw similar figures, with its price jumping by over 21% at around the same time.

14.58 - Government representatives to discuss Christmas approach

Ministers from Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will meet later this week to discuss a UK-wide strategy for the Christmas period.

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Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the devolved nations would meet with Michael Gove later this week to decide a united set of measures, at a press conference today.

He said: "My office has been contacted today by the office of Michael Gove, the minister in charge of the Cabinet office, to get a date in the diary this week. The topic of that meeting will be a common approach to Christmas."

"I very firmly believe that this is one of those areas where having an approach that is adopted across the United Kingdom is the right way to be able to offer hope to people here in Wales and elsewhere; that we are able to plan purposefully together for the season."

13.08 - Boris Johnson to brief public later

The Prime Minister will take questions from the public and journalists later today, with a press briefing scheduled for around 5pm today.

image: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street via Number 10 on Flickr
image: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street via Number 10 on Flickr

12.53 - 'Get rid of ridiculous curfew'

Pressure is mounting on the Government to scrap the 10pm curfew when pubs are allowed to reopen again in England next month.

Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord tweeted: "HUGE week ahead. Starting with lobbying the Government on how they can safely re open the night time economy and get rid of this ridiculous 10pm curfew.

"We've completely complied. Now is the time to fight back and safely work alongside the virus, to save businesses and jobs."

12.28 - Takeaway freedom to be extended

An announcement that pubs will receive automatic permission to provide takeaway services for another year is expected later this week.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government confirmed that Communities Secretary Robert  Jenrick will announce the extension this week.    

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Rules were relaxed in March so that operators would not have to go through a planning application process to be able to offer a takeaway service.

This will now be extended a year from an expiry date of 23 March 2021 to 2022.

The Government is also going to consider whether to make this reform permanent.

Pubs can operate as takeaway and delivery services during the four-week lockdown in England this month but any alcohol sales must have been pre-ordered.

11.34 - Reopening day for Welsh pubs

Welsh operators have shared their excitement about opening after the firebreak lockdown.

Here's what some have been saying on social media:

10.06 - Real living wage rises

More than a quarter of a million people working for an employer signed up to the “real living wage” will see 20p added to their hourly rate of pay.

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The threshold’s nationwide increase to £9.50 – or £10.85 in London, a 10p boost – is designed to help workers and families weather the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Introduced to ensure staff earn a wage that meets the real cost of living, and covers everyday needs, the voluntary rate is not be confused with the compulsory National Living Wage, which is currently £8.72 an hour for anyone over the age of 25.

The real living wage is 78p per hour more than the Government minimum for over 25s while the London living wage is £2.13 per hour higher. 

09.54 - Pubs serve communities in first weekend of lockdown

Many pubs in England continued to operate during the first weekend of lockdown, serving their regulars via takeaways and bottle shops.

There had been some confusion about takeaway alcohol but the Government has permitted pubs to serve pints-to-go so long as they are pre-ordered.

  • Have you decided to continue trading during the lockdown? What have sales been like so far? Let us know on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz

Monday 9 November 09.23 - Opposition leader calls for curfew review

Labour leader Keir Starmer has called on the Government to review the 10pm curfew on hospitality businesses and said he would support a staggered process. 

Speaking on radio station LBC, he said: "I think we get the chance [with the lockdown] to look again at the curfew. I can understand what the Government was trying to achieve to be honest but it didn't work and we saw people all crowding out at 10pm. There's a smarter way of doing this and I think that if you were to stagger that time differently, so people left at different times, that would be better."

He pointed to Wales, which offered punters a drinking up time and ordered alcohol sales in the off-trade to be cut off at 10pm as well. A policy similiar to this would help disperse crowds from city centres, the opposition leader said.

A number of Conservative MPs also disagreed with the 10pm curfew, Starmer added.

He said: "The Government needs to think about the regime in place when we come out of lockdown and where things have not really worked very well. If they come up with something sensible, we will support them on that."

The sector has been calling for the policy to be slashed in its #CancelTheCurfew campaign. 

14.54 - Lock In latest

In this week's episode of The MA's​ Lock In podcast, Ed Bedington, James Cuthbertson and Heath Ball talk about customer service, bad behaviour and their mutual love of online reviews, including the dreaded Trip Advisor. Tune in to the latest episode of the Lock In to hear their thoughts.

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14.31 - Guidance for pubs

12.54 - What is the situation like for pubs in Europe?

With England moving into its second national lockdown, The Morning Advertiser​ scoured regulations governing hospitality operators across the rest of Europe to see where in the world beers are still being served.

11.31 - 'Confidence is everything for our industry'

The MA's​ Ed Bedington spoke to Top 50 Gastropub operator, Brendan Padfield of the Unruly Pig, in Bromeswell, Suffolk, to get his views on the big stories of the past week.

Padfield described the current situation as a "proxy lockdown" and questioned the Government's decision to keep universities and schools open.

11.26 - Unfair targets?

Chief executive of Cameron's Brewery Chris Soley has said on Twitter he feels the tradeis being unfairly targeted by "the Covid cops," after a compliance visit to his site.

10.44 - Pubs eligible for grants even if doing takeaway

The MA u​nderstands that hospitality businesses serving takeaways are able to claim the business grants as their main mode of business has been banned.

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The clarification comes after a number of readers asked if they were still eligible for the grants.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme​ will be based on rateable value and is available for businesses forced to close for the second national lockdown.

09.57 - Minister will not 'be presumptuous' about future lockdowns

Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi has told BBC Breakfast​ he will not be "presumptuous" about the possibility of future lockdowns.

He was asked if yesterday's announcement of the furlough scheme being extended until the spring was an indication of closures continuing.

Zahawi said: "This intervention will end on 2 December. We will then review how well it is working. I think there are some good signs, early, cautious but good signs."

He pointed to falling case rates in regions previously in tier three such as Liverpool and Nottingham.

"So I think that if we all come together, do the right thing over the next four weeks, we can bring the R number down to 1 or below and go back to a tier system," he added.

"But of course, you know, I'm not going to be presumptuous in any way."

09.34 - 'No light at end of tunnel with tiered approach'

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has said a tiered approach post-lockdown offers little hope to the hospitality sector.

The restrictions mean "a cap on capacity, hours and restrictions on customers meaning revenues of just 30% normal levels."

The Prime Minister told the nation yesterday he was committed to the current lockdown expiring on 2 December.

Trade bodies have asked the Government to use the next four weeks to review measures on hospitality including the 10pm curfew.

Friday 6 November, 09.17 - 'We will do this by 2 December'

Good morning. It is the second day of the English lockdown.

Boris Johnson reiterated the current lockdown restrictions will expire on 2 December and the tiered system will come into force in England thereafter.

At a Downing Street press conference last night (Thursday 5 November) – the first day of the nationwide lockdown – the Prime Minister urged the public to stay at home.

Answering a question from the Romilly Weeks of ITV who asked if he really thought restrictions could be lifted before Christmas and questioned if the desire to celebrate would send the virus surging again, Johnson said: "We can do this, we will do this by 2 December and I have every confidence we will be able, if we follow this package of measures in the way we can and as we have done before, I’ve no doubt people will be able to have as normal a Christmas as possible and we will be able to get things open before Christmas as well.”

16.32 - 'Direct support for businesses is still woefully inadequate'

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has welcomed the extension of furlough but said more help is needed to save Scottish pubs.

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SLTA spokesperson Paul Waterson said: “Today’s announcement by the Chancellor gives a glimmer of hope for the industry with staff now given the support needed to see them through to at least spring next year.
“However, let us not lose sight of the fact that direct support for businesses is still woefully inadequate and unless this is increased substantially, there is still the threat of business failure leading to the loss of thousands of jobs and jeopardising the intentions of the Chancellor’s extended support package announced today to save jobs.
“Over 50% of jobs in the pub and bar sector could still be lost without increased and immediate aid directly to businesses owners and operators. Business closures and job losses will have a particularly deep impact on the employment of young people as over 45% of staff employed are under the age of 25.
“The announcement today will give the industry a bit of a breathing space, but the Government needs to plan ahead and give industries much earlier indications of what support will be available rather than making announcements at the eleventh hour.”

16.23 - 'Good spirits' on last night

The MA​ asked readers what the last night operating before the lockdown was like.

Here is what they have been saying on Twitter:

  • Will you be doing anything for your community during the lockdown? Let us know on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz​. 

16.17 - Pub rebrands as the 'Lockdown Tavern'

The Lockhart Tavern in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, has rebranded itself as the Lockdown Tavern after it was forced to shut its doors this week due to the national lockdown.

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General manager Lydia Mills said the site was now going to set itself up as a shop and takeaway three days a week, Friday through to Sunday, offering regular favourites from its menu as well as a range of beers and wines.

15.33 - Prime Minister press briefing this evening

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to take questions from journalists and members of the public at around 5pm later.

Keep your eyes on The Morning Advertiser's​ website for all the latest updates and reaction.

14.16 - Additional support needed for survival, trade body says

CEO of UKHospitality Kate Nicholls has called for further support, in response to measures laid out by the Chancellor earlier this afternoon.

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She said: “Extending the furlough scheme is a big boost and will help secure hospitality jobs in the medium term across the whole of the UK. Keeping jobs alive during this lockdown and throughout a bleak-looking winter period, which is likely to see businesses trading under severe restrictions, is key to the future survival of the sector.

“Hospitality is facing a tough winter ahead, though, and businesses will need additional support if they are to survive. We will need enhanced grant support to keep venues alive and a solution to the ongoing rent debt problem that continues to linger over the sector. These must come alongside a clear roadmap for a return to business. Without these, the extended furlough scheme alone is not enough to keep hospitality alive and will have been a wasted investment of public funds.

“Surviving the winter is just the first step, too. Beyond that we need action to ensure that businesses can be revived and the sector can play its part in rebuilding the economy. Extending the VAT cut and business rates holiday, coupled with extensive Government promotion of tourism and hospitality, will be the bare minimum required.”

13.26 - Businesses given 'some certainty' by Chancellor 

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), said the trade has been listened to.

She said: “The Chancellor has listened to our concerns on the impact of coronavirus measures on the sector and delivered on some of the immediate support we need. 

“The extension of the full furlough scheme until March 2021 will give businesses some certainty on the support they need for the difficult months ahead. It also recognises that tier three restrictions have the same devastating financial impact on our pubs and brewers as a full lockdown. This will give some comfort to our staff and provide our businesses with a better chance to survive these unprecedented times.”

12.21 - Furlough extended until end of March

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of March against a "worsening economic backdrop".

This means workers can claim 80% of their wages if their workplace remains closed after the end of lockdown in December. 

Employers will pay just National Insurance and pension contribution.

The Government will review the scheme in January to consider if employers should contribute more to the scheme.

The job retention bonus to encourage companies to keep on furloughed staff will be used at a later point, Sunak said.

The Chancellor told MPs the Government would provide "significant extra support to protect jobs and livelihoods in every region and nation" of the UK.

He went on to guarantee furlough funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the event of lockdowns.

12.05 - 'Closing down is a bit soul destroying'

Operators told The MA​ about their last night operating before closing for four-weeks.

Operator Brett Mendoza runs the Caxton Arms in Brighton and said the pub “almost felt normal” last night, with the pub booking a live singer for the occasion. 

“We went out on a high. The atmosphere was great, lots of happy people enjoying being out for the last time," Mendoza added. "Every table in the pub, the garden and our function room were booked from 6pm.”

Closing down is a bit soul destroying,” he said. “The last two weeks were our busiest two weeks since we reopened.”

The last night before lockdown at the Caxton Arms, Brighton
The last night before lockdown at the Caxton Arms, Brighton

Read the full story.

11.54 - Furlough extended until March?

The BBC is reporting the Chancellor intends to announce his furlough scheme will be extended until March.

He will set out plans in the Commons shortly.

10.48 - Almost a third of English pubs at risk of permanent closure

Up to 12,000 English pubs - almost a third (31.9%) - will not reopen after the second lockdown is lifted, a trade body has predicted.

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The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) is calling for the Government to use the closure period to review the effectiveness and necessity of restrictions after lockdown.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “As our sector enters this second lockdown, we are fearful for the future.

“Sector member research estimates as many as 12,000 pubs are at risk from permanent closure unless the Government provides a longer term support package for the sector.

“Countless breweries and suppliers to pubs are also at very real risk of closing for good due to this second lockdown its longer impact."

10.41 - Goodbye to punters

Pubs have been thanking their customers on social media this morning.

Thursday 5 November, 09.48 - Chancellor to make speech 

Good morning. It is the first day of a second nationwide lockdown in England, with pubs closing last night for four weeks.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce the Government will extend the 80% furlough scheme for businesses that do not open after the lockdown is eased.

The Times​ and the Sun​ newspapers have reported the 80% furlough scheme will be applicable for businesses shut under tier three measures rather than 67% of wages.

It has been reported the Chancellor will also guarantee furlough cash for the devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should they impose similar lockdowns.

16.26 - Lockdown going ahead

MPs have voted to approve the new set of lockdown laws which will come into force later tonight.

516 MPs voted to approve the lockdown while there were 38 votes against.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson implored MPs to vote with the Government for a four-week lockdown in England, arguing the lockdown was needed to prevent deaths “on a grievous scale”.

MPs debated the four-week shutdown in the House of Commons earlier today. Labour backed the Government's plans while a number of Conservative MPs protested the proposal.

15.46 - Star will zero rent for November

Star Pubs & Bars will cancel rent for its pubs on core leased & tenanted agreements during the four weeks in November, regardless of whether or not they choose to operate a takeaway service.

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It will offer a 90% rent reduction should the lockdown continue beyond the initial date and will review its support for pubs under local restrictions.

This follows the company announcing pubs under tier three measures would not have to pay rent.

Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs & Bars managing director said: “This second lockdown is devastating for pubs throughout England and the on-trade as a whole. It is also extremely frustrating given the time and money spent making pubs safe, and the corresponding very low levels of infection currently linked to pubs.

“From the outset of this crisis we have said that we will continue to review our support in line with the changing regulatory landscape, and hope the actions we’re taking today allows for some surety in these very uncertain times. Clearly we all hope that pubs will reopen on 2 December as the run-up to Christmas is such a critical trading period for the industry.”

15.09 - Welsh pubs subject to 'rule of four'

Welsh pubs have received confirmation of new operating rules after the end of the 'firebreak' lockdown next week.

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Pubs will be subject to national rules on limiting social gatherings to four people from different households.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: "We have listened to those young people and single people who told us how important it is for them to meet some friends and other family members.

"Our intention is that the regulations will allow groups of up to four people to meet in a regulated setting such as a restaurant, cafe or pub.

"But this is subject to strict protections discussed with the hospitality sector, including advance booking, time-limited slots and verified identification."

14.31 - Are you a pub operator in Wales?

Let us know how you are feeling about reopening after the firebreak lockdown eases on 9 November, on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz​ 

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13.27 - Vote expected around 4pm

MPs are now debating the four-week lockdown in the House of Commons.

A vote is expected at around 4pm this afternoon.

The Prime Minister said to MPs: "These restrictions represent the best and safest path for our country, our people and our economy."

12.53 - Punch provides 75% rent credit

Punch will provide its tied tenants in England with a 75% rent credit for the closure period and invest in outside space in preparation for reopening.

Punch chief executive officer, Clive Chesser said: “The Prime Minister's announcement on Saturday night was a bitter disappointment and a further nationwide closure will undoubtedly create further challenges and anxieties for our teams and our pubs.

"We have continued to provide a dynamic support package to our Publicans, most recently adapting the level of support to those pubs impacted by movements in the tiered systems and local closures imposed in England, Scotland & Wales. As we head towards a second national ‘lockdown’ in England we have communicated to all of our tied pubs in England that we are providing a 75% rent credit which will remain in place throughout this period of full closure. 

"Alongside this we will be investing in the outside areas of hundreds of our pubs across the UK during the month of November to adapt & improve external areas in preparation for safely re-opening and optimising trade through the Christmas period.”

Chesser said longer term Government support will be "essential" as the sector seeks to recover from the hit of two lockdowns.

The Morning Advertiser​ has asked other major pub companies what their plans are for rent.

12.37 - Takeaway beer U-turn 'relief'

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has welcomed the clarification that pubs can do some alcohol takeaways, describing this as a "lifeline" for pubs.

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Nicholls said: “It is a welcome and helpful clarification that restaurants and pubs will be permitted to continue with off-licence sales of alcohol through delivery, click and collect and takeaway for pre-ordered sales. Having that channel of revenue was a lifeline to many businesses in the first lockdown.

“This also means that the valuable community service that pubs, in particular, provide to communities, can be sustained during a second lockdown, the prospect of which will be concerning many vulnerable and lonely people who suffered during the first lockdown. The delivery and collection provisions also represent a common sense approach to minimising waste. That those venues can also open as a shop, including as an off licence, is also welcome.

“It is a relief to have sight of this guidance – yet again, venues have precious little time in which to digest and implement them. A vital element to the successful application of the guidance, at short notice, will be clear local authority guidance on their enforcement, so that venues have confidence that there will be consistency across England.”

12.10 - MPs to vote on lockdown plan

MPs will vote on the Government's proposals for a four-week lockdown in England, ahead of the new laws coming in at one minute past midnight tomorrow (Thursday 5 November).

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Labour has said it will approve the measures, although a number of Conservative MPs have opposed another lockdown.

12.02 - Pub companies outline rent approaches 

The MA​ has rounded-up what major pub companies have told tenants about rent during the 28-day lockdown period.

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10.38 - How much can pubs be fined for breaking lockdown laws?

Businesses can be hit with fines of up to £10,000 for breaking coronavirus rules amid the second lockdown.

For a first offence, the fixed penalty is £1,000, second offence will be £2,000, third is £4,000 and for a fourth offence £10,000.

This is similar to the repercussions pubs faced when reopening where an offence for breaking Covid-secure guidelines where businesses would face £10,000 fines.

10.22 - Last orders for English pubs

English pubs are preparing to close from 10pm tonight for the country's second lockdown. 

Pub chains including JD Wetherspoon and Stonegate Pub Company have declared they will sell pints for less than £1​.

  • How are you saying goodbye to punters? Tweet us on @morningad​ or let us know what your pub will be doing for the community during the lockdown on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz

Here's what some pubs have said on Twitter:

09.17 - Trade bodies ask Chancellor for six-month investment plan

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, groups representing the pub sector outlined wishes for a recovery package.

The letter was put together by UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and Pub is the Hub.

These are the measures they are calling for:

  • Employment support guaranteeing 80% of wages to continue for businesses beyond the English lockdown, with flexible support available during the next six-months.
  • A "more sustainable" set of grants similar to the first lockdown that will cover ongoing fixed costs, with payment as soon as possible. This must allow access to the full state aid allowance.
  • An extension to the rent enforcement moratorium to June 2021 to protect businesses and bring partners to the table
  • A reduced rate of VAT for hospitality through the whole of 2021 and a business rates holiday for 2021/22
  • Investment in brewing via beer duty support and a compensation scheme for brewers for unsold beer and returned stock

In a joint statement, the trade bodies said: "By every conceivable measure, it makes sense for the Government to support hospitality and pub businesses as well as their supply chain partners. We can be in the vanguard of economic recovery next year, driving growth, creating jobs and providing billions in vital tax revenues into the future, but only if we survive this perilous moment.”

Wednesday 4 November, 09.03 - Government U-turn on takeaways

The Government has made a partial U-turn on rules around takeaway drinks during England’s second lockdown. Beer lovers can now purchase pints if they are pre-ordered by a variety of methods.

Under new rules, alcoholic drinks can be taken away from an on-trade venue if a purchaser collects food or drink that has been pre-ordered by website, phone call, text or post, and provided the purchaser does not enter the premises.

The laws on the second lockdown can be read in full here.

14.51 - Marston's reduce rent to 10%

Marston's have joined Greene King and Stonegate Pub Company in reducing rent for tied tenants and leaseholders to 10% from 5 November until 2 December.

In a letter to tenants, Ed Hancock, operations director said: "Clearly no one wanted to be back in this position, I know how hard our pubs have worked to make sure they remain safe and enjoyable places for their customers to visit. I also know the determination and creativity that our pubs have demonstrated over the last nine months and I have no doubt that our business will bounce back from this most recent enforced closure."

14.41 - Grant support 'doesn't even start to cover costs'

One reader has said the Government's grant for closed pubs does not go far enough.

13.01 - Admiral rent plans

Admiral Taverns confirmed to The MA​ its rent plans for the upcoming lockdown.

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Tenants will have to pay 10% of their contractual rent for the 28-day closure period.

Its policy states: "Where a pub is forced to close, the rent payable for a closure period of up to 28 days will be 10% of the contractual rent, equivalent to ‘Domestic Rent’ (unless there is no domestic accommodation, in which case no rent will be payable). Licensees will continue to pay for buildings insurance and the service charge which ensures building compliance, which we will continue to deliver whilst abiding by COVID Working guidelines.

"If a closure period extends beyond 28 days, Admiral Taverns will review all grant support available to you as licensee, and work with you to determine an affordable rent in this light. We will assume that all available grant support has been accessed by licensees and our BDMs and Head Office staff will make themselves available to support you in any way we can, to help apply for and receive this funding."

12.41 - Questions over furlough for Scottish workers

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said there is a lack of clarity from the Treasury about whether it will pay 80% of wages for Scottish workers as well as those in England.

Scotland Pubs restrictions

Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested yesterday (Monday 2 November) that the furlough scheme would be available for any devolved nation that needed it.

In a press briefing this afternoon, Sturgeon said: “I welcome that commitment, although I do so with a necessary degree of caution."

She said the Scottish Government had not had any details or confirmation from the Treasury about this yet.

She added: “It is not helpful for any of us to be distracted by a lack of clarity from the Treasury.”

12.30 - Sum for self employed increased

The Government will increase the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme from 40% of trading profits to 80% for November.

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The grant is calculated over three months meaning it increases from 40% to 55% of trading profits for November to January and the maximum grant rises to £5,160. The claims window is also being brought forward from 14 December to 30 November.

11.29 - 'This industry has made herculean efforts'

Operators have shared their reaction to the news of a second lockdown.

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Licensee of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk, Brendan Padfield told The MA​: “I don’t know what the alternative is, we will have to grin and bear it," he added. "If it limited to four to six weeks, we might be able to get through it.

“What concerns me is after that. This industry has made herculean efforts, its adapted, reinvented, all the huge anti Covid steps we have taken, which were successful in the lack of hospitality Covid infections.

“We are one of the least culpable sectors in terms of spread yet keeping schools open. For some, this will be a bridge too far.

“Resignation, depression the direction of travel sems unclear and there’s too much making it up on the hoof.”

10.20 - Do politicians want to kill the pub trade?

That's the question posed by Christopher Snowdon who has written about the latest lockdown news for The MA​.

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In his opinion piece, Snowdon highlights the ways the pub sector has been targeted by politicans in coronavirus measures.

He said: "Despite a conspicuous lack of evidence that pubs are a significant source of infection, they have borne the brunt of every policy change. At the first sign of trouble, opening hours were restricted to 10pm.

"When the tiered system was introduced in England, pubs were allowed to open in tier two but only on the business-destroying condition that people from the different households could not associate with one another. Tier three didn’t allow them to open at all.

"In Scotland, the legislation might as well been written by the temperance movement. In the regions where pubs are allowed to open at all, they can only serve food and soft drinks – and even then only until 6pm. Hotel restaurants are permitted to stay open to serve their guests, but, again, they cannot sell alcohol."

09.46 - Thousands protest takeaway beer ban

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has said more than 7,000 people have emailed their MP about pubs not being allowed to sell takeaway pints

09.29 - Greene King announces rent discounts

Greene King has said its tied pub tenants in England will receive a 90% rent discount from 5 November to 2 December.

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Greene King Pub Partners managing director Wayne Shurvinton wrote to tenants to say the discount would apply even if a pub chose to do takeaways.

The letter said: “All of us hoped that this day would not come and there are no words that can adequately describe how it feels right now to be back in this position again. However, first and foremost I wanted to update you on Greene King Pub Partners’ support for you during this initial closure period.

"We remain committed to providing industry leading support and standing shoulder to shoulder with our tied partners to support you as much as we can."

08.50 - Cheap pints as closure looms

Good morning and welcome back to TheMA's​ lockdown live blog.

Two large pub chains, JD Wetherspoon and Stonegate Pub Company have announced they will sell pints for less than £1 before closing for a month on Wednesday night.

Stonegate has announced it will sell all cask ale beer for just 95p a pint across its whole managed estate. 

Helen Charlesworth, managing director of Stonegate, said: “Once again, the hospitality industry is being told to bear the financial brunt of further regulations in the Government’s response to Covid-19.

"Given the short notice, this 95p pint sale is to ensure minimal wastage of product across our estate. Cask ale only has a shelf life of a few days once its tapped and spiled, and in March the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) estimated that over 70m pints of beer were poured down the drain.

“We also would prefer our customers to enjoy the beer – responsibly, of course - rather than pouring it away. Just like in March, our pubs will continue to be at the centre of their communities during this lockdown and we look forward to reopening as soon as possible and enjoying the Christmas festivities together. ”

What's more, JD Wetherspoon's Eddie Gershon, said: “All of our pubs in England will be serving their real ales at 99p a pint until the pubs close on Wednesday night.

“The reality is that any real ales not sold between now and lockdown will have to be thrown away, so it is better that customers can enjoy it at a great price while the pubs remain open.”

16.57 - Prime Minister defends takeaway alcohol ban

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said allowing takeaway drinks from pubs and bars during England's second lockdown would result in the measures being 'unpicked'.

Answering the question of why the on-trade can't sell alcoholic drinks to takeaway, Johnson told the House of Commons: "The answer is there's a budget of measures we need to bring together to bring the R [rate] down and when you start unpicking a lot of the rest of it comes out."

"The people of this country want to put human life first and to save as many lives as possible," he continued.

"But if we enforce these measures properly then we should be able to get the R down as I described and have businesses able to open up again."

15.46 - PM 'truly sorry' for businesses

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just outlined the Government's plans for a four-week lockdown to MPs.

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He said: "The R [rate of infection] is still above one in every part of England. The virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst case expectation."

"We will continue as much as possible to fight a pragmatic and local fight in the months to come.

"I am truly sorry for the anguish these measures will impose, particularly for businesses who have only just got themselves on their feet."

15.15 - Operators urged to contact MPs

Operators have been encouraged to contact their MPs to ask for more support for the hospitality sector by UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls.

14.31 - English warned of visiting Welsh pubs

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has said the nation must not become an “escape” for English people hoping to visit hospitality businesses.

“It is very important that Wales does not become an escape for people trying to get round the new tighter restrictions being introduced in England,” he said in an interview with BBC Radio Wales.

He said: “We are meeting this morning with representatives of the hospitality industry. If pubs are completely closed in places like Chester what impact will that have on people trying to come into Wales to go to the pub."

Welsh pubs will be allowed to reopen on 9 November, after the nation's 'firebreak' lockdown, but it is not yet clear what regulations they will have to follow.

14.10 - Clarification urgently required on takeaway beer

The MA​ has asked the Government to clarify questions around the rules on selling alcohol to takeaway.

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The MA ​contacted the Cabinet Office for more clarification on this and was directed to the guidance and was told further guidance will be issued before the law comes into effect on Thursday. We will continue to push for more information on this and update.

14.04 - Wet-led pubs 'provide the beating hearts for their communities'

The MA​ editor Ed Bedington has dubbed the Government's decision to ban the sales of takeaway alcohol from pubs as "especially cruel and unnecessary".

He said: "These pubs have received little to no support throughout this crisis, and have had to sit and watch while other operators have somewhat benefited from tax-breaks and less stringent rulings.

"Now with the second lockdown looming, the Government seems determined to kick away their last remaining crutch and deny those operators the one potential source of revenue they could rely on. Meanwhile, supermarkets and convenience stores can carry on blithely selling cheap cans to anyone they like.

"None of that makes a great deal of sense to me. In fact it makes no sense whatsoever.

"Wet-led pubs are often the very same community-focused operators that provide the beating hearts for their communities."

13.49 - How to access lockdown support

The Local Restrictions Support Grant, which had helped businesses ordered to close in local tier three lockdowns, is available for businesses required to close in national measures.

The grants will be based on business rates, similar to the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) available for the first lockdown last spring.

However this time pubs with rateable values of £51,000 or over​ will be able to access a grant.

12.14 - Deltic Group 'for sale'

Late-night operator Deltic Group has launched a merger and acquisition process in a bid to help its future, The MA​ understands.

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A statement from the company said: “The prolonged impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s late-night sector has been well publicised.

“Deltic’s board has been considering options available to it and today confirms it has launched an accelerated merger and acquisition process as part of a plan to secure the company’s future.”

11.12 - Announcement expected on support for self-employed 

11.00 - Takeaway beer confusion

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has urged the Government urgently clarify if pubs will be allowed to continue to sell takeaway alcohol. If they will not be allowed to, the association is requesting to see the evidence for why they cannot.

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The Government's website states:​ "Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed."

James Calder, SIBA chief executive said: "As if a second national lockdown in England wasn’t disastrous enough for pubs and independent breweries, Government have gone further this time around and introduced an unjustified restriction banning pubs from selling takeaway beer, a service which was the only source of income for many businesses during the summer lockdown. This is baffling considering supermarkets will presumably still be allowed to sell packaged beer, whilst small breweries and pubs will not.

"It is nonsensical to impose these new restrictions when pubs have time and time again proved that they are covid secure, both during lockdown when takeaway was their only option and since pubs re-opened on 4 July."

SIBA has asked for clarification that online sales from breweries can continue and breweries with an on-site shop can continue to sell click and collect beer.

It also wants the Government to state that bottle shops and shops run in brewery premises will be considered, like off-licenses, as essential retail and allowed to remain trading. 

The Government is to put its plans for a national lockdown to Parliament this week.

10.46 - 'Resign before we force you out'

Pubco bosses tweeted their reactions to the announcement of a national lockdown in England.

Oakman Inns executive chairman Peter Borg-Neal tweeted: “Do you know what Boris Johnson, you are a pathetic little bedwetter.

“Please never compare yourself to Churchill again. You are not fit to clean his shoes. Resign before we force you out.”

10.28 - Will furlough be extended?

Pub staff will receive 80% of their current  salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500, as they did in the spring during the first lockdown, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced.

The Job Retention Scheme ended last month (Saturday 31 October) and asked employers to contribute towards employees' salaries. However, the extended scheme does not.

Businesses will be asked to contribute to an employee's National Insurance and pension.

Pubs forced to close will receive grants of up to £3,000 a month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant.

10.01 - Scotland restrictions come into force

Scotland's new five-level system of coronavirus measures begins today, with many pubs restricted on their ability to serve alcohol.

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Scottish trade bodies have said the levels could lead to business failure and job losses.

Monday 2 November, 09.53 – English pubs to close 

Good morning and welcome to The MA's​ new live blog, where you can find regular updates about the second national lockdown.

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the Government's plans for a month-long closure for pubs in England from Thursday 5 November.

This will necessitate all “non-essential” businesses such as pubs and bars to close, unless for takeaway and delivery services.

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