While many pubs were allowed to reopen after England’s four-week lockdown restrictions expired yesterday, the BBPA’s membership survey found the majority felt it would not be viable to operate under new tiered rules.
Operators would consider closing again if they could not make business under tier two food rules work this week.
The BBPA has called for support for English pubs to be increased to match that on offer to Welsh businesses. The average grant payment an English pub will receive for the next six weeks will be £3,400 while this would be £11,300 in Wales, the association said.
Emma McClarkin, BBPA chief executive, said: “Of course, these pubs are looking forward to warmly welcoming customers and their communities back once more. It is just a shame so few of them are allowed to re-open and make a good go of it under the harsh new restrictions they now face.
“For those pubs that are reopening, some fear they could close again as soon as this week because they expect trade to be so low.
“Having invested £500m in safety measures to ensure they are Covid-secure, it is ridiculous so many of our pubs are being forced to remain closed unfairly," McClarkin added.
Most pubs in England are in tier two areas, where pubs could reopen from yesterday (Wednesday 2 December) but only if they serve a substantial meal alongside alcoholic drinks. Different households are not allowed to socialise indoors together in any setting in this tier.
Under the toughest tier of coronavirus measures, pubs in tier three areas are not allowed to reopen apart from for takeaway operations. Some 16,010 pubs fall under these tight measures, according to Altus Group.
Just 729 pubs are under tier one measures - in the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and Isle of Scilly - with the freedom to cater to multiple households up to six and allowed to serve alcohol until last orders at 10pm.
One wet-led pub operator in West Sussex told The Morning Advertiser he feared for the future of social drinkers' pubs. “It's not fair on our customers or us as owners,” he said.
A £1,000 one-off payment for pubs that do not serve food was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this week but met with fury from the sector.
McClarkin said: “The Prime Minister’s £1,000 one-off payment is an insult to pubs on their knees in England. He can and must do better.”