North-west based Blind Tiger Inns has four sites in tier two areas and 14 in tier three localities, meaning the entire wet-led estate has been forced to shut under the coronavirus tier system.
Not opening in December will cost more than £1m in lost revenue across the pub group’s estate, according to managing director Chris Tulloch.
Financial support for drinkers’ pubs did not go far enough, the director said.
The Government was slammed by the trade for offering an “insulting” one-off grant payment of £1,000 to pubs that do not serve food.
Tulloch said: “We are, like many, grateful for the support received from the Government during the first lockdown. However, this support is not enough to cover our costs this time around.
“It is disappointing to hear the Government refer to the support already given, as we can't use the support that saw us through the spring to support us again! Our current situation is that after grants and other support, including landlord rent support, our outgoings are way in excess of the income.”
The company is considering installing kitchens or food facilities in a number of its pubs to make the most of any trade allowed towards the end of January.
Hibernating until rules eased
Tulloch added: “As a business, Blind Tiger still remains financially well placed to continue hibernating until restrictions are eased. However we are deeply concerned that the Government support does not go anywhere near far enough to cover the costs. We appreciate that the rules are that we must not trade, and as disheartening as this is, we could almost accept it.
“However, not being supported to the point of break-even is astonishingly bad practice from the Government.
“Contrast this with other countries who are being asked to close, but being given fair compensation and it really doesn’t seem fair.”
“Overall, we have survived the storm thus far, and are focused on creating a solid strategy to come out of the pandemic as strongly as we went into it and have a huge number of plans as we look forward to 2021.”