MA Survey

Tell us: how have the 12 months since Boris first closed pubs affected your business?

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

One year on: The Morning Advertiser has launched a survey to reflect on the year since Boris Johnson called last orders in pubs for the first time amid the Covid pandemic
One year on: The Morning Advertiser has launched a survey to reflect on the year since Boris Johnson called last orders in pubs for the first time amid the Covid pandemic

Related tags: Coronavirus, Pubco + head office, Tenanted + leased, Finance, Rent

As we approach the anniversary of Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling last orders in pubs for the first time during the Covid-19 pandemic’s early throes, The Morning Advertiser has launched a survey to reflect on the past year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has instigated what’s been labelled by many as the greatest peacetime crisis in the pub sector’s long and storied history – with symptoms including widespread job losses, accelerated site closures, and insurmountable financial hurdles, to name but a few. 

With more than 22m people having received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK and the number of patients admitted to hospital with Covid symptoms dropping to its lowest level since 3 October, it’s hoped pubs will be able to resume trading as planned under the Government’s roadmap.

However, to reflect on the year since Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs, bars and restaurants to close for the first on 20 March – just days before imposing the Government’s first national lockdown – The Morning Advertiser​ (MA​) is asking operators to share their experiences of the past 12 months.

Covering everything from staff cuts and site closures to business support and the sporadic periods of socially distanced trading, you can take part in The MA’s​ survey here​.

Cost of the pandemic 

The UK economy succumbed to its largest annual slump (9.9%) since the Great Frost of 1709 when the economy shrank by 13% in 2020.

It’s been well documented that the hospitality sector has borne far more than its fair share of the brunt, with in the region of 660,000 sector jobs​​​ lost in 2020 according to the latest figures from software provider Fourth. 

What’s more, food and beverage service output from venues such as pubs almost halved (48%) in 2020 according to the Office for National Statistics, while a licensed venue has closed on average every 48 minutes since December 2019 as per the latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners. 

The total cost of the UK Government’s coronavirus response is set to reach £407bn by the end of next year. 

Furthermore, new research from small business accounting software provider​, QuickBooks, recently found that small business owners in hospitality stumped up on average £9,750 of their own savings to keep paying staff during the pandemic – over £2,000 more than small businesses in other industries.

  • You can take part in The MA’s survey here

Lost £200m a day

Speaking on The MA’s​ virtual MA500 conference in February​, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls set out the severity of the hospitality sector’s Covid symptoms.

 “We started 2020 at £130bn turnover and revenue at 7% of GDP,” she said. “At the end of 2020 that had fallen by over half so £70bn wiped off the revenue off the industry as a whole.

“We lost £200m a day or £8 an hour in lost sales and almost all of that foreign export earning in terms of foreign tourist spend in the UK, eliminated altogether.

“We started with 3.2m people employed, sadly we have lost 660,000 in terms of headcount – 28% lower as at now but clearly with over a million people still protected by furlough, that’s potentially the tip of the iceberg.  Unfortunately, 10,000 premises closed for good.

“At our lowest ebb, December sales down 84%, 78% for food-led businesses for those who were able open and ended the year with 95% of our businesses closed and started [this year] with a third lockdown.”

  • You can take part in The MA’s survey here

Related topics: Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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