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• LIVE: City Council praised for extra pub fund

By Emily Hawkins contact

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Lockdown live: The Morning Advertiser will bring you the latest updates and reactions to lockdown news impacting the pub sector (image: Getty/AndresGarciaM)
Lockdown live: The Morning Advertiser will bring you the latest updates and reactions to lockdown news impacting the pub sector (image: Getty/AndresGarciaM)

Related tags: lockdown, Beer, Legislation, Government

Coronavirus latest: the British Institute of Innkeeping has said it hopes other local authorities will follow one city council's example in helping pubs.

Monday 26 April - Follow The Morning Advertiser's latest live feed

Please take a look at The MA's​ latest live feed​ for news and reactions to coronavirus news impacting the pub sector. This page will no longer be updated.

15.40 - Britain 'no longer in a pandemic'

Experts have said Britain has moved from a pandemic to an endemic situation, meaning coronavirus is circulating at a low and largely controllable level within the community.

A study found the vaccination rollout was having a major impact in slashing both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.

Sarah Walker, professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Oxford and chief investigator on the Office for National Statistics Covid-19 Infection Survey said she was "cautiously optimistic."

She said: “I think the last three months have shown the combined effect of lockdown and vaccination but long term lockdown is not a viable solution, so vaccines are clearly going to be the only way that we are going to have a chance to control this long term."

13.05 - 'Wear a jacket, it's not rocket science' 

The Lock In​ podcast team tackle the first week or so of trade, how to handle freezing customers, and speak to special guests Brendan Padfield of the Unruly Pig, and Elaine Wrigley of Atlas Bar to hear their experiences of reopening to date.

11.47 - Adnams records £3.7m operating loss during pandemic year

Suffolk-based Adnams became the latest pub operator to post a pandemic loss during 2020, revealing that a swing of more than £4m landed it in the red.

Detailing its financial results for the year to 31 December 2020, the brewer, pub operator and retailer posted a £3.7m operating loss, versus a £719k profit for equivalent period during the year prior.

According to reports by The Morning Advertiser’s​ sister title MCA Insight​, Adnams also revealed that sales plummeted from £74.7m in 2019, to £50.6m in 2020 as respective beer and spirit volumes fell by 23% and 31% during the same timeframe. 

The brewer and operator did, however, reveal that it reduced net debt by £8.3m (46.6%).

Reporting by Stuart Stone

Friday 23 April, 09.54 - Councils encouraged to boost funding for pubs

A city council has been praised for introducing an additional cash grant for struggling pubs and restaurants.

Lockdown live: pubs have been able to trade since Monday 12 April outdoors in England (image: Getty/AndresGarciaM)
Lockdown live: pubs have been able to trade since Monday 12 April outdoors in England (image: Getty/AndresGarciaM)

Norwich City Council has introduced a hospitality and leisure adaptations grant for pubs who have had to make changes to facilitate outdoor trade.

Grants of up to £7,500 are available for pubs and will pay for up to 75% of the cost of adaptions made since 1 April 2020.

British Institute of Innkeeping CEO Steven Alton said: “It is disappointing that more of our members have not received their Restart grants, as this money was delivered to local authorities at the beginning of the month, and they are relying on these additional funds to help them cover costs for reopening, additional staffing and stocking of their bars.

 "As we have seen over the course of the pandemic, support from local authorities has been more positive in some areas than others. Norwich City Council have recognised the huge pressures on licensees and we hope that other local authorities will follow suit with incentives like this.”

15.54 - Calls for indoor payments in pubs to be the same as in cafes

13.55 - Restart Grants 'difference between survival or failure' for many pubs

Operators who are yet to receive a Restart Grant have said they feel local authorities’ slow approach is hampering their chance of recovery.

While many of The Morning Advertiser ​(MA​)’s readers have described receiving payments under the Restart scheme promptly, others have struggled with a lack of communication and delays from councils.

One trade body estimated that just one third of its members had been paid.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has asked local authorities to ensure additional fraud checks are carried out​ with this round of business support grants.

This means a more rigorous approach than with previous business support grants, including company and bank account checks to reduce the risk of fraud or payments in error.

11.49 - Pub sees 250 no shows on first weekend of outdoor trading

A pub in Essex turned to social media to voice disappointment in seeing 250 customers book and not turn up last weekend.

The Prince Louis in Great Notley, Braintree called on guests to let them know if they were unable to attend the pub ahead of the booking slot.

A Facebook post on Saturday 17 April said: “250 – that’s the number of guests we have had not show for bookings so far over the course of yesterday and today.

"Sadly, we have turned many guests away this weekend as we were ‘fully booked’. Please can we ask in future that if you no longer wish to join us, please cancel your booking."

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

Tuesday 22 April, 10.23 - 44% of adults have visited a hospitality venue since reopening

Almost half of English consumers have made a return to hospitality since the sector was permitted to reopen for outdoor trade last week (Monday 12 April).

Reopening: many customers were keen to get back to a beer garden last week, figures show (image: Getty/rez-art)
Reopening: many customers were keen to get back to a beer garden last week, figures show (image: Getty/rez-art)

The research comes from CGA’s Consumer Pulse survey which found 44% of adults had visited a pub, bar or restaurant. 

This is nine percentage points higher than the 35% of consumers who returned in the first ten days of reopening after the end of England’s first national lockdown in July 2020.

What’s more, those visiting venues have made an average of 2.4 visits per person. 

For those hesitant to return, some 16% said they were waiting for indoor service to resume (from 17 May) and 12% said they were waiting for safety measures to end completely. 

Concerns about crowds and the weather had caused some to delay visits, with 42% saying they would have gone out more if they thought they could get a table without a booking.

15.31 - 'Brilliant news'

13.51 - Unemployment figures ‘show fragility of sector’

The latest jobs data highlights how fragile the hospitality sector is alongside the importance it has to the country’s economic recovery off the back of the pandemic, according to one trade body.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found 80% of those who have lost their jobs since the pandemic started are under 35 and that, between December 2020 and February 2021, the number of people in paid employment fell by 56,000.

In the 12 months to March 2021, the total number of paid employees decreased by 813,000.

The hospitality sector was the worst hit industry with 355,000 fewer workers than the previous year – accounting for almost half (43%) of the national total.

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

12.19 - How have you found recruitment?

The Morning Advertiser​ is looking to speak to operators about their experience of recruiting new staff for post-lockdown reopenings.

Recruitment: The MA is looking to speak to operators about hiring new staff after lockdown. (image: Getty/Abscent84)
Recruitment: The MA is looking to speak to operators about hiring new staff after lockdown. (image: Getty/Abscent84)

Have you struggled to find pub staff? Has anything helped you e.g. social media out reach?

10.40 - More than £10m swing sees Shepherd Neame record half-year loss

Kent-based family brewer and pub operator, Shepherd Neame, has revealed an underlying operating loss of £3.6m during the six months to 26 December 2020.

Trading report: how many Shepherd Neame pubs have reopened?
Trading report: how many Shepherd Neame pubs have reopened?

This compares to an £8m profit recorded during the first six months of 2020 by Britain’s oldest brewer and the operator of 316 pubs across Kent and the south east, an £11.6m swing. 

The finalist in the Best Tenanted and Leased Pub Company category at the 2021 Publican Awards also reported a drop in turnover to £55.3m over the same six-month period from £79m registered in the first half of 2020.  

What’s more, statutory loss before tax stood at £7.2m, compared to a profit of £5.4m made during the first half of 2020. 

Reporting by Stuart Stone

Wednesday 21 April, 09.52 - Trade anticipates legal challenge decision 

Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and operator Sacha Lord has said he is anticipating the next step of his court case against the Government.

Lockdown live: The Morning Advertiser will bring you the latest updates and reactions to lockdown news impacting the pub sector (image: Getty/josephmok)
Lockdown live: The Morning Advertiser will bring you the latest updates and reactions to lockdown news impacting the pub sector (image: Getty/josephmok)

He said a decision from a judge of the High Court will come this week and he is prepared to share the Government's evidence. 

Lord and Punch founder Hugh Osmond are challenging health secretary Matt Hancock over the earmarked reopening date for indoor hospitality. They have argued indoor trade should have been able to return at the same time as non-essential retail.

15.58 - 'Parasols are not a roof'

Have you experienced hostility from local authority teams regarding outdoor trade? Let us know via rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz​ 

14.38 - Lockdown easing confirmed for Scotland

Pubs will reopen alongside gyms and non-essential retail from Monday 26 April.

12.01 - Outdoor hospitality reopening confirmed for Wales

First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed that outdoor trade would be permitted in Wales from Monday 26 April.

11.58 - Scotland lockdown easing expected 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce that Scotland will be able to move to three level on Monday 26 April later today (Tuesday 20 April).

In the next stage of lockdown easing, pubs will be permitted to sell alcohol outdoors to a maximum group of six people from six households.

However, they will not be able to sell alcohol indoors but can serve food and soft drinks to a cap of six people from two households indoors until 8pm.

10.44 - PM visits pub 'after months and months'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson took his first post-lockdown trip to a pub in Wolverhampton yesterday.

 

An original visit to a pub when beer gardens reopened on Monday 12 April was cancelled following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. 

In a video posted on Twitter, Johnson urged the public to keep following social distancing and hygiene guidance.

Tuesday 20 April, 09.41 - 'Table service makes it hard to gauge customer sobriety'

Operators are doubling their efforts to ensure customers are drinking responsibly as enforced table service makes it harder to check on individuals.

Lockdown live: pubs reopened for outdoor trade in England on Monday 12 April (image: Getty/chabybucko)
Lockdown live: pubs reopened for outdoor trade in England on Monday 12 April (image: Getty/chabybucko)

Elaine Wrigley, who runs the Atlas Bar in Manchester’s city centre, said table service processes were a challenge when it came to customer wellbeing.

“We have concerns around table ordering apps not supporting responsible drinking, in that the customer can keep placing orders," she explained. "If they were coming to the bar, we'd have a much better sense of their sobriety.”

Director of partnerships at Drinkaware, Adam Jones, said pub staff needed to be “more vigilant than usual” in spotting vulnerable customers.

“Relaxed licensing rules, social distancing and transport limitations will all present issues for operators,” he said. 

“Some people may even have a different tolerance to alcohol now than they did four months ago. 

He advised operators: "Remember that the number of drinks a person has had isn’t the only indicator that they may have had too much – alcohol affects us all differently. Have an escalation plan in place and make sure your team knows how to deal with, and report, an incident appropriately.”

15.09 - Labour leader told 'get out of my pub'

Labour leader Keir Starmer was met with an angry licensee on a trip to a pub in Bath this afternoon.

The operator voiced his opposition to coronavirus rules including masks in schools.

Later, the party leader told journalists he "profoundly disagreed" with the licensee's views.

Local democracy reporter Stephen Sumner covered what happened on Twitter.

14.29 - Just a quarter of licensed venues reopened for outdoor trading

Around 23.2% of England’s 89,963 licensed premises were trading by Thursday 15 April, figures have found.

According to the Market Recovery Monitor ​from CGA and AlixPartners, reopenings in the pub sector were more widespread than restaurants.

Almost four-in-10 (39.1%) of England’s food pubs reopened as well as nearly a third (31.6%) of community pubs and 29.9% of high street pubs.

However for the restaurant sector, just 11.8% sites in the independent-led segment have reopened while almost a quarter (23.5%) of casual dining restaurants are trading again.

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

12.06 - Contact-tracing rules 'very burdensome'

The first week of pubs being allowed to reopen for outdoor trading only has seen operators pivot once again in order to serve customers.

As part of the restrictions for reopening and in a change to guidance from trading last summer, operators now have to take contact details from all guests rather than one lead booker upon arrival.

Licensee of Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub and former Great British Pub Awards winner Brendan Padfield of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk said: “Opening outside only has not been easy but overall it has been a very positive experience. However, there have been downsides. 

“The new Test and Trace regulations are very burdensome and time consuming. Many customers do not use the NHS [app] and thus checking in larger parties is particularly labour intensive.

“Too many customers look at us in disbelief when we try to explain that we are now required to record Test and Trace details for all adults and not just the lead party.

“I am bemused that we are required to go to these lengths when diners are eating outside but supermarkets and gyms record nothing. It’s illogical at best. In truth, it’s ludicrous.”

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

09.16 - Robert Jenrick cautions against 'overzealous interpretations' of rules

Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, urged councils against a "disproportionate regulatory approach."

Lockdown live: The Morning Advertiser will bring you the latest updates and reactions to lockdown news impacting the pub sector (image: Getty/Kar-Tr)
Lockdown live: The Morning Advertiser will bring you the latest updates and reactions to lockdown news impacting the pub sector (image: Getty/Kar-Tr)

In a letter addressed to the chief executives and leaders of local authorities in England, Jenrick said councils must "avoid overzealous interpretations of the rules."

The letter made reference to rules about outdoor structures including shelters and marquees and speedy pavement licences.

"It is in the public interest that local residents can socialise in a licensed and controlled environment outside, where Covid-19 risks are lower," he said. "If a disproportionate regulatory approach is taken, it risks driving residents into unregulated activity and premises which may be far less Covid secure and/or illegal.

Jenrick added: "We need your support to ensure the measures are known, made use of and not impeded unnecessarily – jobs and enterprises depend on it. I would urge you to show pragmatism and proportionality at all times, doing everything you can to help businesses prosper again."

15.19 - Delayed return of Night Tube signals problems for sector

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has urged Transport for London and Mayor Sadiq Khan to help the night time economy deal with the delayed return of the night tube.

Transport for London said Night Tube services will not return until 2022.

The night time economy is hoping for a revival in the coming months, with indoor hospitality set to reopen from 17 May and other venues in the sector from 21 June.

NTIA's CEO Michael Kill said: "The Night Tube is fundamental to the operation of the night time economy in London, the suggestion of this service not returning until 2022, will be catastrophic to the sector and will without doubt leave many frustrated given the volume of customers expected over the next few months"This must be resolved by Transport for London and the Mayor as a matter of urgency, this service is brought back in time to support the high volume periods before the end of this year."

“There needs to be a contingency plan in place as a failsafe for late night economy businesses, and a working strategy for managing dispersal in light of the challenges presented by limited service. ” 

13.52 - Calls for more support for brewers

11.43 - Social distancing rules could see 'end of tipping'

A sector-wide fair tipping policy should be introduced after Covid restrictions mean venue staff are likely to be tipped less, campaigners have argued.

Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and operator Sacha Lord said low-paid hospitality workers will be financially hit by restrictions that limit interaction between staff and customers.

His predictions are based on US research that found 83% of hospitality workers had experienced a decline in tips following reopening.

In the US, while tipping isn't mandatory, it is often expected at a minimum of 15-20% of the bill.

Union Unite and Mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham have also supported the call.

10.22 - Added fraud checks for Restart Grants stall reopening plans

Fraud checks are delaying the payments of Government Restart Grants, leaving operators frustrated and helpless.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has asked local authorities to carry out pre and post payment fraud checks, The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ understands.

This means a more rigorous approach than with previous business support grants, including company and bank account checks to reduce the risk of fraud or payments in error.

BEIS has asked councils to pay eligible applicants by 31 July 2021 after councils received the funding on 1 April 2021.

Derbyshire operator Lee Mills described confusion and anger after communicating with his local authority over when a grant payment may be made.

Friday 16 April, 08.54 - Majority of readers against calorie labels

Some 83% of operators (102 respondents) said they would not support mandatory calorie labelling on drinks in pubs in response to a survey by The Morning Advertiser (MA).

Reader views: The Morning Advertiser's readers have said they do not back proposals to force some pubs to show calorie labels for drinks (image: Getty/Odairson Antonello)
Reader views: The Morning Advertiser's readers have said they do not back proposals to force some pubs to show calorie labels for drinks (image: Getty/Odairson Antonello)

Just 15% of respondents said they backed the proposals, which the Government is to launch a consultation on soon, while 2% said they were unsure.

The Department of Health is considering a consultation on plans to mandate any business with 250 or more employees to display calorie labels.

No decisions have yet been taken, a Government spokesperson told The MA.

Chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, Emma McClarkin said the suggestions were “ludicrous” and particularly “outrageous” at a time when pubs were beginning to trade again.

15.34 - Calorie labels 'last thing the sector needs'

UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls has said the organisation would urge the Government to work with the sector on "workable solutions that strike a balance between meeting public health objectives and not creating additional business burdens.”

Her words were in response to proposals that would see pubs forced to label drink menus and pumps with calorie information.

Nicholls said: "If true, these proposals are absurd at a time when pubs and other hospitality businesses are struggling to survive.

"The last thing the sector needs after prolonged periods of forced closure is unnecessary red tape that creates yet more burdens for operators, who are simply desperate to get back to running their businesses."

14.21 - 'Not the time' for mandatory calorie labels on pints

Reports of proposals to force large pub chains to display calorie labels on pints of beer have been dubbed “outrageous” and described as “costly and complicated” by the trade.

The Department of Health is considering a consultation on plans to mandate any business with 250 or more employees to display calorie labels.

A Government spokesperson confirmed to The Morning Advertiser​ that a consultation is to launch “soon” on the topic of mandatory calorie labelling on alcohol, as outlined in its obesity strategy.

No decisions have yet been taken, the spokesperson stressed.

Trade groups have described the proposals as “ludicrous” and said they would knock the industry when it was already struggling.

12.23 - Drinks sales outperform food on first day of outdoor trading

Pubs with outside areas that were permitted to trade on Monday 12 April saw drinks sales up on 2019 figures.

According to the CGA Drinks Recovery Tracker April 2021​, which covered 1,687 outlets, like-for-like drinks sales were up by 113.8% on the equivalent day in 2019 while food sales were down by 11.7%.

This meant total like-for-like sales increased by more than half (58.6%) when compared to 12 April two years ago.

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

10.11 - 'Hospitality is NOT open' 

Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord has said the trade "must keep pushing" for the reopening of indoor hospitality

Thursday 15 April, 09.13 - 'Smartphone should not be a precondition for a pub trip'

A charity has said it is concerned about a widening "digital divide" for older people after the pandemic has meant more digital elements in the pub experience. 

Lockdown live: pubs have been using app-based technology for ordering and payment as well as for contact-tracing (Getty/RawPhoto1)
Lockdown live: pubs have been using app-based technology for ordering and payment as well as for contact-tracing (Getty/RawPhoto1)

It comes after The Telegraph​ newspaper reported that a 78-year-old man had contacted them after reportedly being denied a drink in a Northumberland pub as he did not have the NHS coronavirus app.

Customers can use the NHS smartphone app to fulfill venue's requirement to store customer contact details for NHS Test and Trace while many pubs are also using apps for ordering and payment.

Charity director at Age UK, Caroline Abrahams said: "As we start to emerge from the pandemic it seems that many pubs and restaurants are requiring customers to pre-order using a smartphone, which automatically rules out about half of those aged 65 to 74 and 70% of the over-75s because they do not use one.

"This risks widening the digital divide and reducing the opportunities for some older people to enjoy socialising once again.

"We fully understand the need for venues to pay attention to infection control but it would be helpful to their bottom lines, as well as to older people, if they ensure that smartphone use is not a precondition for buying a drink or a meal."

15.48 - 'Hopeful first start'

14.33 - Outdoor trading 'time consuming and confusing'

12.01 - Calorie labels on pints 'outrageous' 

The British Beer & Pub Association has called suggestions of mandatory calorie labelling on pints of beer in pubs "outrageous."

It comes after newspaper reports that the Department of Health is considering forcing larger pub chains to declare calorie counts of pints on menus or pumps.

It is not the first time the trade has been threatened with mandatory calorie labels, as reported by The Morning Advertiser​ last year.

What do you think? Vote in our survey below.

surveys

Survey

Would you support mandatory calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks at pubs?

  • Yes

    16%
  • No

    83%
  • Unsure

    1%

11.45 - Scottish pubs 'unfairly targeted' by alcohol rules

Calls continue to mount for a relaxation of rules about serving alcohol when pubs reopen in Scotland.

Pubs can reopen outdoors for groups of up to six people from up to six households with alcohol from Monday 26 April.

They can also reopen indoors but can only serve groups of up to six people from up to two households without alcohol until 8pm.

Trade bodies have said rules limiting alcohol are “ridiculous” and will strangle businesses’s attempts to rebuild trade this spring.

11.18 - MP presses Health Secretary on indoor reopening

Emma Lewell-Buck MP for South Shields asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday (13 April) why indoor hospitality's reopening had been delayed until five weeks after outdoor hospitality.

Punch founder Hugh Osmond and night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord are challenging Hancock over its reopening date for indoor hospitality in the High Court.

10.49 - Tesco ad calls on customers to support pubs

Instead of using ad spend to showcase in-store offers, Tesco has urged its customers to give its supermarkets 'a miss' in favour of a visit to their local.

The advertising campaign launched to coincide with pubs being permitted to trade outdoors only from yesterday (Monday 12 April), with a raft of restrictions in place.

The supermarket acknowledged “tough” time pubs have had over the past 12 months, amid the pandemic.

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

Wednesday 14 April, 09.19 - Operator 'quite clear' on insurer's initial stance on coverage 

London operator Inception Group has responded to its insurer's denial of having stated the group would be covered under its business interruption policy.

Lockdown live: Insurer AXA denies making a U-turn over their stance that coverage would be provided under Inception Group's insurance policy
Lockdown live: Insurer AXA denies making a U-turn over their stance that coverage would be provided under Inception Group's insurance policy

The operator of 11 central-London sites including Cahoots and Mr Fogg’s, said it had initially notified AXA of its intent to claim for losses on 18 March 2020.

Insurer AXA said it was "completely untrue" that it had said coverage had been triggered under the group's business interruption insurance policy.

An AXA UK spokesperson said it could only authorise claims where the policy wording provides cover and the FCA test case had clarified no cover was provided by the policy wording for Inception's claim.

However, according to Inception Group, AXA wrote to the operators on 21 April 2020 and said they felt that coverage had been triggered under its business interruption policy.

Inception Group told The Morning Advertiser​: "We are quite clear that any interpretation of the letter we received from AXA dated 21 April 2020 was that AXA felt that our business interruption policy responded to our insurance claim."

Co-founders Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling said they had been contacted by multiple operators who are facing similar issues with AXA and urged others to get in contact.

15.38 - 'Don't forget your coats and maybe a hat'

13.45 - Staff do not have to ask to see app check-ins

Pub staff do not have to ask customers to show their phone screens to prove they have checked into the venue via the NHS app, it has been confirmed.

Pub goers can use the NHS coronavirus app to check into a venue via scanning a QR code, to meet the requirement for pubs to gather contact details for Test and Trace.

However, staff do not have to check customers’ phone screens to ensure they have correctly signed in via the app, the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed to The Morning Advertiser.

Staff must satisfy themselves that customers have registered successfully but this can be done by asking individuals.

11.28 -  Government hits vaccination target

All adults over 50, clinically vulnerable individuals and health and social care workers have now been offered a coronavirus vaccine, according to the Government.

Lockdown live: Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the public to keep safety in mind (image: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)
Lockdown live: Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the public to keep safety in mind (image: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)

Almost 40 million vaccines have been given, with adults under 50 to be invited for jabs this week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "We have now passed another hugely significant milestone in our vaccine programme by offering jabs to everyone in the nine highest risk groups.

"That means more than 32 million people have been given the precious protection vaccines provide against Covid-19.

"I want to thank everyone involved in the vaccine rollout which has already saved many thousands of lives.

"We will now move forward with completing essential second doses and making progress towards our target of offering all adults a vaccine by the end of July."

Speaking at a Downing Street briefing last week, Johnson urged the public not to be "complacent" when it came to safety advice such as social distancing and hand washing.

"We can see the waves of sickness afflicting other countries and we’ve seen how this story goes," he said.

10.53 - 'Surge testing won't impact pub reopening' 

Residents of a South London area where a cluster of the South African coronavirus variant has been discovered have been encouraged to "enjoy the easing of lockdown."

A surge testing operation is underway in the areas of Wandsworth and Lambeth after 44 confirmed and 30 probable cases of the virus variant were discovered.

However, Ruth Hutt, director of public health for Lambeth Council, told the BBC's Today programme that residents should not be put off safely.

Hutt was asked if residents should stay home instead of visiting beer gardens and said: "No, we want everybody to follow the advice that still stands around 'hands, face, space'.

"We want them to enjoy the easing of lockdown but to do that safely, and it is a really good opportunity now to mobilise all this testing just to check we don't have any further cases of this variant in either Lambeth or Wandsworth."

Pubs in the boroughs reopened for outdoor trade yesterday (Monday 12 April) as per step two of the Government's lockdown easing roadmap.

10.16 - Pub told garden 'not Covid-secure as below ground level'

A Brighton pub has been allowed to open today (13 April) after not being permitted to yesterday after being told its garden had no air flow.

The Caxton Arms said it was told by the council that as its beer garden was below ground level, air could not flow freely and so it was not safe.

However, after further negotiations with the council where pub operators agreed to slash capacity, the site was permitted to reopen today (Tuesday 13 April).

  • Have you come up against your local authority or police on an aspect of Covid guidance? Please get in touch to let us know your experiences on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz​ 

Tuesday 13 April, 10.02 - Operator speaks out against insurer

Bar and restaurant operator Inception Group said it had experienced a “huge injustice” after insurers AXA never paid out for business interruption coverage after an initial claim that this would occur.

According to Inception Group, AXA wrote to the operators on 21 April 2020 and said they felt that coverage had been triggered under its business interruption policy.

However, nearly a year later, Inception has not received any compensation and has accused AXA of performing a “complete U-turn” on the issue.

Insurer AXA said it was "completely untrue" that it had said coverage had been triggered under the Group's business interruption insurance policy.

An AXA UK spokesperson explained: “While we understand the challenges many businesses have faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we can only authorise claims where the policy wording provides cover.

“The FCA test case has provided clarity around what is and isn’t covered in relation to policy wordings, and it is clear that no cover is provided by the policy wording for this particular claim."

16.08 - 'It's been a while'

15.13 - Can pubs play live music?

Here is a reminder of the guidance on playing live music.

Live music is authorised as performances are complementary to customers drinking or dining, and are not the main purpose of their visit.

As per step two of the Government’s lockdown roadmap, pubs can provide complementary live music for seated customers.

However, pubs must not charge for admission or admit an audience in addition to individuals eating and drinking, otherwise this would be considered a live music event.

Live music must be incidental to the customers’ visit to drink and dine at a pub and not the main purpose of their visit.

Events will only be allowed to take place from step three of the roadmap, when hospitality can reopen for indoor trade from 17 May the earliest.

14.39 - LTC ‘saddened’ by Prince Philip’s death

The Licensed Trade Charity (LTC), of which Prince Philip was a patron, has said its staff, trustees and volunteers have paid tribute to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, following his death on Friday 9 April.

The charity said it had a strong and historic relationship with the Royal Family over 180 years and was honoured to have Prince Philip as its figurehead.

The Duke of Edinburgh was patron of Licensed Victuallers’ National Homes and when it merged with the Society of Licensed Victuallers in 2004 to become the LTC, he maintained his association and became the LTC patron.

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

14.34 - 'Looking after our wonderful guests'

12.04 - Trade bodies clarify reopening rules

Trade bodies UKHospitality (UKH), the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) have produced a FAQ sheet for reopening, after they said local authorities have issued conflicting advice to pub operators.

The sheet includes guidance​ on social distancing and payment indoors.

A spokesperson for the trade associations said: “Reopening of pubs and other hospitality businesses outdoors is a step forward for the full reopening of our sector. Safety of our staff and customers remains our top priority – as is consistent interpretation of the new rules. By referring to this handy checklist, hospitality operators can ensure they are taking the right steps to reopen outdoors”.

10.29 - 'My customers are getting cold because of illogical Government' 

Founder of Oakman Inns, Peter Borg-Neal has shared his frustration on social media over pubs only being able to reopen for outdoor service.

Gyms, hairdressers and non-essential retail can reopen indoors from today alongside beer gardens.

Some parts of England including in Sussex, Berkshire and Yorkshire, have been hit by showers of snow and sleet.

  • Have you been affected by snow? Are you concerned it will impact trade and turnout? Get in touch via social media @morningad​ or on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz​ with your images and experiences.

10.06 - Crowds outside shops highlights 'unfair' pub closure 

Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord has pointed to crowds gathering outside non-essential retail shops and said it is "unjust" indoor hospitality cannot reopen at the same time.

Indoor hospitality venues are Covid-secure but have been forced to remain closed, Lord tweeted. 

He is currently challenging the Government on its roadmap out of lockdown in the High Court.

09.41 - 'Government must commit to lifting restrictions'

CEO of London-based pub company Young’s, Patrick Dardis, said today was “just a very small step towards getting our business back to anywhere near viability.”

Reopening day: pubs still face heavy trading restrictions
Reopening day: pubs still face heavy trading restrictions

The company said it was reopening around 140 pubs today but Dardis cautioned outdoor trade would be “so reliant on the weather.” 

Even on 17 May when pubs are allowed to reopen indoors​, many pubs would still be struggling to trade, the CEO said.

“The key day for UK pubs, restaurants, the economy and jobs is Freedom Day on 21 June," he explained. "This is when we get our lives back.  It is the first day that UK pubs and restaurants, as well as the economy, can start to rebuild. Until then, the weather as much as anything, will determine whether opening outdoors is worthwhile.

"What is for sure, we need the Prime Minister to honour his commitment to the nation to ensure that 21 June is indeed Freedom Day. He must not, and must not be allowed to backtrack on that commitment.”

Monday 12 April, 09.07 - Pub gardens brace for reopening day as snow hits 

Pubs can welcome punters in for a meal and/or drink in their outside spaces in England today after months of full closure. 

Non-essential retail and gyms also open today but pubs will have to wait until at least 17 May before they can reopen indoors.

Some parts of the country have been hit with snow but operators said on social media they were determined to keep positive. 

Lockdown live: pubs can reopen for outdoor trade today (Monday 12 April)(image: Getty/izzetugutmen)
Lockdown live: pubs can reopen for outdoor trade today (Monday 12 April)(image: Getty/izzetugutmen)

England has been in a national lockdown since 6 January with many pubs forced to shut weeks prior to this under regional restrictions. 

Here is what a few pubs have said on social media about the big reopening day.

  • How are you marking reopening day? Or have you been unable to reopen for outdoor trade? Get in touch with your experience on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz​ 

16.42 - Social distancing risks 'permanently destroying’ cosy pubs

With one of the highest numbers of furloughed workers in accommodation and food sectors in the country, Cornwall is eagerly anticipating the reopening of hospitality.

"People associate Cornwall with fishing and farming but the truth is that the local economy is heavily reliant on the hospitality sector,” Derek Thomas MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (St Ives), explained.

“The lockdowns have been very hard for all those working in the pub trade,” he added.

Thomas said: "Landlords and landladies are hoping for a long and busy spring, summer and autumn to set them up for next winter and to get back on track but they are naturally concerned about when they will be able to get back to ‘business as usual’.

"Measures to maintain social distancing and reduce the risk of infection will probably be with us for a while and risk permanently destroying the welcoming and cosy atmosphere which makes the pub such a unique British institution."

14.16 - What are rules for pubs to reopen for outside trading?

With updated guidance revealed following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement earlier this week (Monday 5 April), we have put together the rules pubs need to know ahead of outdoor trade being permitted on Monday (12 April).

12.42 - Duke of Edinburgh dies

11.52 - 'Good to see confirmation restrictions are scheduled to fall away'

10.17 - 'Backlash against onus on pub staff to check T&T check in'

Pub staff must check customers' phone screens to make sure they have properly checked in via the NHS Test & Trace app, The Telegraph​ has reported.

Fresh guidance requires every member of a group to leave their contact details rather than the previous system where just a lead member had to give details.

UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls said: “This is putting high onus on individual staff working in premises to check people’s phones, and we are continuing to work with the Government to try and get a more pragmatic, proportionate and reasonable solution.

“We’re concerned to ensure that we minimise chances of harassment or abuse of staff.”

Friday 9 April, 09.24 - Live music guidance 'laughable', operators say

Operators have described guidance on live music in pub gardens as “confusing” and “laughable.”

Music rules: operators have said guidance on live music performances is ludicrous, ahead of beer gardens reopening (image: Getty/Jay_Zynism)
Music rules: operators have said guidance on live music performances is ludicrous, ahead of beer gardens reopening (image: Getty/Jay_Zynism)

As per step two of the Government’s lockdown roadmap, pubs can provide complementary live music for seated customers, it was confirmed to The Morning Advertiser​.

However, pubs must not charge for admission or admit an audience in addition to individuals eating and drinking, otherwise this would be considered a live music event.

Live music must be incidental to the customers’ visit to drink and dine at a pub and not the main purpose of their visit.

One operator said on social media the guidance was "another example of the pub trade thrown under a bus.”

Others said they were confused by the rules and joked they would be fine if they did not advertise the name of a band or “tell anyone”. 

Another licensee commented: “So music is only allowed in pub gardens as long as nobody wants to hear it.

“Next up: pubs can show live football but only Vanarama National League games no one wants to watch.”

16.04 - Boost for 'rural pubs with poor internet access' 

UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls has said she is pleased the Government has "acted pragmatically" after the pub sector questioned guidance on payment when beer gardens reopen next week.

She said: “While paying for food and drinks at the table is still the recommended method, this amended guidance means that pubs, bars and restaurants that do not have the facilities to process a card payment at the table, such as rural pubs with poor internet access, will now be able to process payments inside.

"This means that customers will not be forced to pay in cash at such venues, and it should be noted that card and contactless payments remain the safest payment methods during the pandemic.”

14.45 - UK expected to pass herd immunity threshold by Monday

Modelling by the University College London has suggested that the number of people who are protected against Covid-19, because they are naturally immune or have been vaccinated, will hit 73.4% on Monday 12 April.

This is the same day pubs will reopen for outdoor trade.

UCL's professor Karl Friston, said: “The herd immunity estimates surprised me. However, they are unremarkable when one considers that over 50% of adults have been vaccinated, around 42% of people have now been exposed to the virus and about 10% have pre-existing immunity.

“When factoring in the estimated efficacy of vaccination in terms of sterilising immunity, this – according to the model – means about 70% of the population are immune."

12.18 - Can pubs host live music when beer gardens reopen?

Live music will be authorised when pub gardens reopen as long as performances are complementary to customers drinking or dining, and are not the main purpose of their visit.

Health and safety: the Government has guidelines on safe live music in hospitality(image: Getty/coffeekai)
Health and safety: the Government has guidelines on safe live music in hospitality(image: Getty/coffeekai)

A number of licensees contacted The Morning Advertiser​ to ask whether they would be allowed to have singers or bands when their beer gardens reopened from Monday 12 April. 

As per step two of the Government’s lockdown roadmap, pubs can provide complementary live music for seated customers.

However, pubs must not charge for admission or admit an audience in addition to individuals eating and drinking, otherwise this would be considered a live music event.

Live music must be incidental to the customers’ visit to drink and dine at a pub and not the main purpose of their visit.

11.18 - 'Thousands of jobs and businesses remain at risk'

Chief executive of Camerons Brewery Chris Soley has urged the Government to not "move the goalposts" on slashing Covid restrictions by introducing a Covid certification scheme.

He said he opposed the scheme in pubs as it would be detrimental to the guest experience creating "confrontation and barrier between staff & guest." 

The CEO also said the move would be "unnecessary" given the progress of the vaccination rollout and posed ethical questions. 

10.33 - Country will 'cautiously return towards normality'

Thursday 8 April, 09.21 - 'Every adult will be jabbed by end of July'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said every adult in the UK will receive a vaccination by the end of the July, despite a guidance change.

The UK drugs regulator said that under-30s should be offered an alternative vaccine to the AstraZeneca jab after rare cases of blood clots.

However, Hancock said the country was still on track to meet its target this summer, with supplies of the Pfizer and Moderna jabs ordered.

What's more, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told journalists yesterday there was no indication the country would need to slow down its progress with the roadmap out of lockdown.

Johnson said: "I don’t see any reason at this stage at all to think we need to deviate from the roadmap and we’re also very secure about our supply."

16.13 - Vaccine advice changed after blood clot concerns

Under-30s should be offered an alternative coronavirus jab to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised.

It comes after extremely rare blood clots have been seen in recipients of the jab, with 19 deaths recorded in the UK.

England's deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the NHS was "all over this," and the course of the vaccine rollout would not be impacted.

“Vaccines continue to be the way out for the UK, they continue to be the way in which we can get our lives back to normal and our economy opened up again the shortest time possible," Van-Tam said.

14.03 - Hancock accused of 'stalling tactics' as reopening challenge fast-tracked

The Government has been accused of “stalling” as a legal challenge over indoor hospitality’s reopening date will be fast-tracked through the High Court.

Legal challenge: Sacha Lord (right) and Hugh Osmond believe indoor hospitality should be allowed to open at the same time as non-essential shops (image: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)
Legal challenge: Sacha Lord (right) and Hugh Osmond believe indoor hospitality should be allowed to open at the same time as non-essential shops (image: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)

Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and operator Sacha Lord and hospitality entrepreneur Hugh Osmond have challenged Health Secretary Matt Hancock over the decision to reopen indoor hospitality five weeks after non-essential retail.

The Government argued against the expedition of the case yesterday (Tuesday 6 April) but the judge ruled to fast-track the case through the High Court. 

Mrs Justice Eady said: "There is a need to expedite consideration of this matter if the challenge is not to be rendered academic by passage of time."

The High Court requested last week that Health Secretary Matt Hancock file a response by 10am yesterday (6 April).

12.07 - 'Unfair' for pub staff to police Covid checks, says Greene King CEO 

Greene King CEO Nick Mackenzie has said a Covid certification system would be "devastating" for community pubs.

Hassle for staff: Greene King's CEO has said it is unfair to expect pub staff to oversee Covid status checks
Hassle for staff: Greene King's CEO has said it is unfair to expect pub staff to oversee Covid status checks

He said: “While a vaccine passport system may be appropriate for international travel and large-scale events where large numbers of people are travelling from different regions, it would be devastating for pubs who serve their local communities.

"It’s unfair to expect pub teams to police this as well as dealing with any fallout and it would have a huge impact on our people who just want to get back to serving customers.

“It would also add significant costs at exactly the time the industry is planning to rebuild itself so it’s vital the government sticks to its timetable with a full, unrestricted reopening from 21 June.”

11.43 - Immunity proof would damage 69% of night-time operators

More than two thirds (69%) of firms in the night-time sector have expressed concern that vaccine passports, requirements to provide proof of testing or immunity, would have a negative impact on their businesses, according to research.

The survey of 700 night-time businesses from the Night-Time Industry Association (NTIA) also revealed 70% felt Covid-status certification and the like were not necessary to open their event or premises safely.

The potential use of immunity proof is being used as part of a pilot events scheme from the Government whereby a circa 3,000 person event will take place at Circus Nightclub in Liverpool for an indoor club night on Friday 30 April.

Covid-status certification will be trialled as part of the pilot programme.

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

10.51 - Customers can pay indoors

Pubgoers can pay indoors when visiting beer gardens from next week, it has been confirmed to The MA.

Pubco bosses have welcomed the news on social media.

Wednesday 7 April, 09.49 - Government under pressure on vaccine passports

The Government is facing escalating opposition to the suggestion of Covid-status certification passports.

Lockdown live: MPs have opposed the suggestion of a vaccine passport scheme for domestic use (image: Getty/bukki88)
Lockdown live: MPs have opposed the suggestion of a vaccine passport scheme for domestic use (image: Getty/bukki88)

Labour MPs have been briefed that the party’s position is to vote down any measures that would require people to show proof of vaccination to access shops or pubs, according to The HuffPost​. 

More than 40 Tory MPs have already signed a cross-party letter opposing the idea. 

Mark Harper, a Tory backbencher and chair of the Covid Recovery Group, said: “Whether the state legislates for it, recommends it or simply allows it, Covid-status certification will lead to a two-tier Britain, and these issues need debating thoroughly and carefully before we allow them to affect the lives of our constituents.”

In a review document, the Government said it was possible Covid checks could “play a role in reducing social distancing requirements in other settings which people tend to visit more frequently, for example in hospitality settings.”

There will be “significant implications for businesses” and so the policy will be considered in consultation with the industry and account for “the equalities and other impacts.”

Ministers have said no decision has been made yet and a policy would be voted on by MPs.

15.50 - Every pubgoer will have to give contact details, Government confirms

Pubs must gather contact details from all customers in group bookings, the Government has announced.

This is a change from how pubs were instructed to use the NHS Test and Trace system last summer when the trade was permitted to resume trading and take just the lead booker’s details from group reservations.

14.37 - 'More detail' to come on vaccine passports

12.37 - Covid checks 'a minefield of difficulties' 

Founder of The Oakman Group Peter Borg-Neal has described the idea of Covid checks as "impractical, discriminatory and unnecessary".

He explained: "We are confident the reopening of outdoor areas will not drive an increase in infections – after all the reopening of hospitality indoors last summer did not do so.

"Come 21 June, we would rather maintain a Covid-secure protocol than have to deal with a vaccine passport system," Borg-Neal said. "Checking people’s details on arrival is a non-hospitable process and would present a minefield of difficulties.

"In any event, the notion that you would need to prove your Covid status to enter a pub but not to enter a tube train is entirely absurd.”

12.04 - Government 'must be clearer' on possibility of Covid checks

UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls has urged the Government to clarify its stance on the possibility of future Covid certification checks for pubs.

Ministers have ruled out their use at pubs for the unlocking steps from 12 April and 17 May but a Government document suggests they may be used to abolish social distancing measures.

The Times​ newspaper reported that pubs may be given a choice to use a Covid check system or to continue with one metre distancing rules.

The checks would involve asking customers for proof of a vaccination or recent negative test result.

11.13 - What is the guidance for 12 April outdoor reopening for pubs?

As the Prime Minister announced yesterday (Monday 5 April) step two of the roadmap will go ahead, The Morning Advertiser takes a look at the rules around reopening for outdoor trading.

The Government has now confirmed pubs can serve customers outside from next Monday (12 April) and there have been changes to measures when compared to reopening last summer.

One big change is taking contact details of customers to help NHS Test and Trace. Whereas last year, operators were required to take information of one person in a group, it is now a legal requirement that details from all pubgoers must be recorded.

The guidance states operators must display the official NHS QR code poster (which can be created here​) alongside asking every customer of visitor aged over 16 to check in to the venue or provide their contact details, which can be done using the NHS Covid-19 app.

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

10.23 - How do you feel about the coming months?

The Morning Advertiser​ is looking to hear from pub operators across the country about their hopes and concerns looking forward to the spring and summer months.

Operator views: get in touch with your thoughts to be featured in The MA's pandemic coverage (image: Getty/Chattrawutt)
Operator views: get in touch with your thoughts to be featured in The MA's pandemic coverage (image: Getty/Chattrawutt)
  • Are you concerned about operating with restrictions? Optimistic of maximising outdoor trade? Worried about the vaccine passport suggestions? Please get in touch on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz​ .

09.23 - Government must respond to evidence challenge

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has until 10am this morning (Tuesday 6 April) to respond to a legal challenge over the reopening date for indoor hospitality.

Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and former pubco boss Hugh Osmond challenged the Government's roadmap in the High Court.

They said there was no evidence to support the case for non-essential retail to open ahead of indoor hospitality.

Tuesday 6 April, 08.52 - Beer gardens can open on 12 April 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed last night (Monday 5 April) that England would be able to proceed to the next step of the Government's lockdown easing roadmap.

Lockdown live: beer gardens can reopen from 12 April (image: Andrew Parsons No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)
Lockdown live: beer gardens can reopen from 12 April (image: Andrew Parsons No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)

This means beer gardens will be able to reopen from Monday 12 April.

Johnson said he would be "cautiously but irreversibly, raising a pint of beer" on the reopening date.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said that just two fifths (40%) of pubs in England – 15,000 – would be reopening for outside service and highlighted concerns over restrictions still imposed on the trade such as table service.

He said there was "absolutely no question" of people being asked to produce certification or Covid status report from 12 April or when pubs reopen indoors at the next step from Monday 17 May.

However, the Government is understood to be considering giving pubs the choice of using a certification system to be able to drop social distancing measures from June onwards. 

14.50 - 'Unfair to single out our sector again'

Trade groups UKHospitality (UKH), the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) have urged the Government to not impose further restrictions on pubs.

In a joint statement, the bodies said: “Government has promised the country that we will be reopening but we are now being told that this will be with our hands tied behind our backs. Pubs will already be trading at a loss when they reopen with all the existing restrictions and COVID-secure measures in place.

"Adding further disproportionate and discriminatory measures threatens the very survival of thousands of businesses. It’s unfair to single out our sector again with these added impractical burdens that will have economic consequences and risk our recovery.

“We want to trade our way back to prosperity, not rely on state handouts but if Government insists on restricting our ability to trade then they will need to stump up more business support. We need to see a further extension of the business rates holiday through to October and more furlough support to save the millions of jobs we support.”

The groups have taken issue with the review into Covid status certification and updated rules surrounding contact-tracing.

12.50 - Welsh pubs to reopen indoors 'before end of May'

Pubs in Wales will be able to reopen outdoors from Monday 26 April while it is hoped indoor hospitality will reopen before the end of May.

beer-1379581_1280 (1)

Speaking at a coronavirus press briefing today (Thursday 1 April), First Minister Mark Drakeford said he understood how important certainty was for businesses but the "further we get away from today" the more provisional dates became.

Looking to the next lockdown review cycle, Drakeford said outdoor hospitality would be able to reopen on Monday 26 April, providing the public health position remained positive.

The First Minister said it was the Government's "ambition" for indoor hospitality to "reopen ahead of the Spring Bank Holiday at the end of May." 

The Welsh Beer & Pub Association (WBPA) welcomed the indication of reopening dates and said it gave the sector "something to plan towards."

WBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin added: “The further indication that indoor hospitality will be considered for reopening in the period following 17 May is also an important step forward.

“We look forward to further discussions with the Welsh Government concerning the types of restrictions that will be in place and a funding package going forwards.”

10.51 - NLW rise comes into effect today

The increase in the national living wage (NLW) and the national minimum wage (NMW) takes place from today (Thursday 1 April).

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the 2.2% rise to £8.91 an hour in the spring Budget last month (Wednesday 3 March).

The increased rate is equivalent to an additional £345 for year for employees working in a full-time job.

The former rate for the NLW (for those aged 25 and over) is £8.72 an hour and the latest rise is the smallest increase in recent years.

09.47 - Government 'have relied on fiction not fact'

Trade figures Sacha Lord and Hugh Osmond are to challenge the Government over the reopening roadmap for English pubs at the High Court today.

The duo are legally challenging the Government over its decision to permit non-essential retail to open five weeks ahead of indoor hospitality.

They have called on the Government to provide specific evidence on the safety of the two sectors.

The Morning Advertiser​ asked the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office what evidence had been used to decide on the reopening dates. 

A Government spokesperson said: "While we do not comment on individual legal proceedings, there is clear scientific evidence that the risk of transmission is considerably lower outdoors than indoors and this is reflected in our roadmap.

“We are supporting the hospitality sector throughout the pandemic, including our new £5bn Restart Grant scheme, extending the furlough scheme and the VAT cut, and providing 750,000 businesses in hospitality and other sectors with business rates relief."

When pressed to provide specific evidence relating to the safety of non-essential retail in comparison to indoor hospitality, the Government did not respond.

Thursday 1 April, 09.19 - Welsh First Minister expected to reveal reopening details

First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford is to set out further details on the country's unlocking roadmap later today.

Lockdown live: the Welsh Government is to provide more details of when pubs can expect to reopen (Getty/ Debra Angel)
Lockdown live: the Welsh Government is to provide more details of when pubs can expect to reopen (Getty/ Debra Angel)

He is expected to announce that, after 17 May, officials will look at reopening indoor hospitality in advance of the spring bank holiday (31 May). 

Pubs could reopen outdoors from Monday 26 April, the First Minister appears set to say at a press conference after midday.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales, Drakeford said: "You see in the pattern a continuation of the step-by-step approach we've taken in Wales doing the outdoor activities first because it's safer to be outdoors.

"But for the first time in the timetable we are now able to set out the first re-openings of indoor activities as well."

He added: "The presence of the virus in Wales is the lowest in the United Kingdom, the rate of vaccination in Wales is the highest in the United Kingdom…"

Pub operators have said they feel left in the dark without a reopening date and called for Welsh officials to look to England and Scotland for support.

15.15 - Pubs urged to register for free workplace testing

The Government is calling on businesses, including those in the hospitality sector, to order rapid testing in preparation for reopening.

From Monday 12 April, operators with at least 10 workers can access the tests, which will be free until the end of June, and businesses can register here​.

Workers can collect the test from their workplace and use at home twice a week and businesses are still urged to register now if they are remaining closed after 12 April so they can order tests in the future.

13.15 - 'Hard data and facts'

Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester has said he will be legally challenging the Government on its reopening roadmap tomorrow (1 April).

11.12 - 'What does the Government have against pubs?'

10.11 - Almost half of Brits back prioritising hospitality staff for jabs

Just under half of the population (47.2%) said they agree that hospitality staff should be prioritised for vaccination, according to a survey of UK residents by StreetBees.

Some 39.1% of respondents said they did not agree that pub and restaurant workers should receive a jab before their agemates, while 13.7% said they did not know.

Of the 18-25 year olds asked, 61.9% backed prioritising hospitality workers while 47.3% of 26-35 year olds surveyed agreed.

Of those over 46+ year olds, 38% agreed with the statement while 45.5% said they did not believe bar staff should be jabbed ahead of others.

Pub operators in the UK have shared concerns about their young workforce who will be last in line to get jabbed. 

Head of commercial employment at Forbes Solicitors, Emma Swan said if pubs were required to check customers’ vaccination status, there would be a “reasonable argument” for the same to be required of workers.

Staff in these venues will be closely interacting with customers,” Swan explained, “and it’d be very difficult to plausibly argue a real point of difference between a non-vaccinated employee and not admitting a customer who doesn’t have a vaccine passport.”

14.03 - Welsh publicans call for further support and reopening clarity

Welsh pub operators have urged the First Minister to issue additional grant support, similar to what has been offered to English and Scottish businesses.

The Welsh Beer & Pub Association said pubs had been left in "limbo", with the last grant covering the period up to the end of March.

Chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association Emma McClarkin said: “Welsh pubs are in limbo, with no clarity on when they can expect to fully reopen nor the financial support they need to continue to survive in lockdown.

“We will continue to work closely with the Welsh Government but our pubs and publicans in Wales are suffering, and cash reserves are rapidly becoming exhausted. If the First Minister wants to prevent pubs from falling at the final hurdle, we must have more support.

"We need a clear indication with dates on when they can expect to fully reopen, as well as a great increase in the level of support they are getting to ensure they can hold on."

11.37 - Indoor service opening later than shops ‘due to social contact’

Allowing non-essential retail to reopen inside before pubs are permitted is due to limiting social contact, The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ understands.

store-1338629_1280

A senior Government minister told The MA ​yesterday (Monday 29 March) hospitality had been hit so hard by restrictions because of the social interaction that takes place in venues.

This comes after it was announced non-essential retail would be allowed to extend their opening hours until 10pm Monday to Saturday when permitted to reopen to “give people greater flexibility to avoid peak times and ease transport pressures” according to the Government.

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

10.41 - JDW to pump £895m in 168 new pubs and refurbishing existing sites

Pub behemoth JD Wetherspoon is set to invest £895m in developing new sites alongside upgrading existing venues in its portfolio as part of a 10-year plan.

The development has a pipeline of 75 projects including 18 new pubs and 57 “significant” extensions as well as upgrades to other existing sites initially, which is set to take place as pubs are permitted to reopen. The company estimated this will cost £145m.

The first part of the plan will be in areas such as Leeds, Birmingham, Newport Pagnell, Heswall, Sheffield, Felixstowe, Dublin, Haverfordwest, Carmarthen and Glasgow.

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

Tuesday 30 March, 09.50 - 'We must proceed with caution'

There are no signs to suggest England would have to "deviate" from the Government's roadmap to unlock the country from coronavirus measures, the Prime Minister has said.

Lockdown live: 'We must proceed with caution,' the Prime Minister said at a press briefing yesterday (29 March) (image: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)
Lockdown live: 'We must proceed with caution,' the Prime Minister said at a press briefing yesterday (29 March) (image: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)

Boris Johnson urged the public to take the next step of the roadmap safely, highlighting the importance of social distancing and outdoor socialising. 

"I don’t see anything in the data right now that would cause us to deviate from the roadmap," he said at a Downing Street conference last night (Monday 29 March).

Rising infection rates and fresh lockdown measures in European countries like Poland and Germany mean England "must build our defences against that wave when it comes."

The PM said in the past there had been a "time lag" between waves of the virus in other nations and the UK and said the country must "continue flat out to build the immunity of our population."

Conservative MPs have been calling for restrictions to be lifted earlier than planned, given the country's vaccination progress and a reduction in hospitalisations and deaths.

However, the Government has rejected these calls.

16.21 - 'Pubs should be bailed out'

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey has proposed pubs should be allowed to claim up to 80% of their rental costs from the Government.

14.51 - Operators urged to share views on vaccine passports

UKHospitality has urged business operators to share their thoughts on vaccine passports with the Government.

Members of the trade body can use a template from the association.

13.23 - Operators despair after vaccine passport considerations

A vaccine passport system presents several ethical and operational challenges to the pub sector, according to one operator, who spoke to The MA.

Lancashire license Sean Wilkinson said he found the idea unworkable and an insult to the hard work of the trade in preventing transmissions.

Across Wilkinson’s sites, at the Guy's Thatched Hamlet, some 200,00 contact details were recorded over a five month trading period, with no alerts from contact tracers about at-risk individuals. 

The sector has been "the safest Covid-free environment around,” the operator said. “Now with the vaccine roll out steaming ahead and surpassing all targets with hard work and dedication of key worker teams around the United Kingdom, our social environment only gets safer.”

12.03 - Test and Trace requirement ‘truly disappointing’

It is understood pubs will need to take customer contact details amid reopening and until September with all members of groups having to provide information.

This is a change from how pubs were instructed to use the NHS Test and Trace system last year upon reopening when just the lead booker’s details had to be taken.

11.50 - Just 38% of licensed venues have space to trade outside

About four-in-10 licensed venues have outdoor areas to trade from, when permitted, no earlier than 12 April, research has found.

beer-199650_1280 (1)

The Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners showed around 41,000 venues in Britain have a car park, garden, terrace or other area that could seat customers – just 38.2% of all sites.

When broken down, 80.5% community pubs are able to offer external areas compared to just 11.9% of casual dining restaurants.

The report also looked at different corners of the country showing in the south west of England, about half (51.1%) of sites have outside areas but in London, this number is below a third (33.1%).

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

09.36 - Opening hours extended for shops from 12 April

When non-essential retail businesses reopen from 12 April they will be given the option to open until 10pm Monday to Saturday.

The Government has said this will help social distancing and ease pressure on public transport.

However, some in the licensed trade have called on the Government to treat their sector similarly. 

Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord tweeted about the issue.

Lord is taking the Government to court over its decision to reopen non-essential retail five weeks ahead of indoor hospitality.

Monday 29 March, 09.14 - Groups of six allowed to meet outdoors

Socialising rules have been eased in England today, with groups of up to six people or two households allowed to meet up outdoors. 

Lockdown live: the stay at home message has been lifted today (Monday 29 March) (image: Getty/Rawpixel)
Lockdown live: the stay at home message has been lifted today (Monday 29 March) (image: Getty/Rawpixel)

The stay at home order has now ceased and outdoor sport facilities can also reopen.

Ministers have urged the public to "take this next step safely" in a new messaging campaign, highlighting the risks of socialising indoors and not social distancing.

While individuals can now meet to drink alcohol bought from supermarkets in parks or private homes, they will not be able to purchase takeaway pints from pubs.

The Government confirmed that the takeaway pint would be lifted at the next step of the country's unlocking roadmap, no earlier than 12 April. Pubs can deliver alcohol.

15.31 - What do you think about vaccine passports?

The Morning Advertiser​ is looking for operators to share their views on the Government's suggestion of a vaccine passport policy.

It is understood that the policy would see customers have to show proof of vaccination, a recent negative coronavirus test result or proof that they have recently had the virus and are protected by antibodies.

Lockdown live: The Morning Advertiser wants to hear readers' views on the vaccine passport policy (image: Getty/Molnia)
  • What do you think about the proposals? Please get in touch on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz , with your thoughts on what the policy would be like to implement at your site.

13.51 - Enter the Publican Awards giveaway

Take a look at the Facebook post below to find out how you can enter the Publican Awards giveaway.

13.48 - 8 in 10 publicans oppose vaccine passport policy

Eight out of 10 licensees oppose Government-proposals to introduce a vaccine passport policy for pubs, according to a poll of The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ readers.

Some 292 of the 365 publicans who voted said they disagreed with the idea that pubs would have to ask punters to prove their ‘Covid status’ in order to operate without social distancing requirements.

Just 16% said they supported the idea while 4% said they were unsure, in an online survey from The MA.

The trade has lambasted the idea, which is currently under Government review.

13.08 - Punch boss says vaccine passport policy 'impractical and unworkable'

Clive Chesser, CEO of Punch Pubs, has said the pub sector does not need "further impractical measures," as it looks to reopen this spring.

He said: “The UK vaccination programme is a remarkable success story with almost 30 million people having already received their first dose, and with hospitalisations and deaths continuing to decline.

"This rate of progress leads us to remain confident that the Government will not deviate from its published roadmap, with a phased timetable for reopening culminating in the complete lifting of trading restrictions from 21 June. It is vital on so many levels that we do not deviate away from this critical goal.

Chesser said the company could not see "any logical reason" for a vaccine passport policy to be introduced. "We consider the idea to be entirely impractical and unworkable in many ways," he added.

"Now is the time to start focusing on reviving the economy and rebuilding confidence, not implementing further impractical measures.”

11.40 - Coronavirus powers extended 

MPs voted to extend emergency coronavirus legislation for another six months yesterday (Thursday 25 March).

My Post (1)

The Coronavirus Act, first brought in at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, gives the Government extensive powers including to close down businesses.

MPs voted by 484 to 76 to extend it - 36 Conservative MPs rebelled against the Government and 21 Labour MPs voted against.

Critics have said they are concerned the extension leaves open the possibility of further restrictions but the Government said it hopes this will not be needed. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Although this act remains essential and there are elements of it which we are seeking the renewal of, we have always said we will only retain powers as long as they are necessary."

10.41 - UKHospitality welcomes new rates relief fund

Friday 26 March, 09.19 - Vaccine passports could 'nudge' young people to get jabbed 

Government insiders hope a vaccine passport system may push young people to get vaccinated, according to The Guardian​.

Media round-up: there have been various reports on the Government's vaccine passport policy (image: Getty/DisobeyArt)
Media round-up: there have been various reports on the Government's vaccine passport policy (image: Getty/DisobeyArt)

A Government source told the newspaper: “If the argument on health grounds doesn’t really wash because young people think they’re going to be fine and their grandparents and parents have all taken it, the strongest nudge is: ‘You’re not going to be able to be as free as you’d like.’ Not being allowed into pubs may focus minds.”

What's more, the Sun​ has reported that customers could have to show proof of either a vaccine, a negative test or that they have antibodies of the virus, dubbing it a "threedom pass."

The Sun's​ report suggested the policy would be introduced around Christmas rather than from this summer.

It has been reported that the vaccination passport proposal - which is thought to involve adapting an existing NHS app - could be used to help builders, cleaners and electricians get jobs as well as for larger events like weddings and business conferences.

The Telegraph​ also said festivals and sports arenas would be subject to the 'Covid check' system.

The Government has promised more details on 5 April, when there will be an update on various reviews into unlocking the country.

16.01 - Rates relief fund 'hugely positive news' for brewers

Brewers have welcomed a new business rates relief fund of £1.5bn for businesses excluded from existing relief.

The Government said the pot would be distributed according to which sectors have suffered most economically.

SIBA chief executive James Calder said: “It is hugely positive news that Government has finally recognised that many sectors, including brewing have been left behind over the last 12 months and are seeking to redress this.

"We warmly welcome this new round of business rates funding and will now press local authorities and Government to urgently prioritise and distribute these funds to breweries. The brewing sector has suffered enormously as pubs, which represent over 80% of our trade, have been closed off to us."

15.11 - No changes to takeaway pint rules at next unlocking step

The Government has confirmed there will be no changes to rules surrounding takeaway pints at the next easing of lockdown laws. 

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From 29 March, people will be able to meet up in groups of up to six to socialise in public parks and private gardens.

They will be able to buy alcohol from a supermarket to drink together but will not be able to buy takeaway pints from a nearby pub.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy confirmed that current rules on alcohol-to-go would not change from 29 March. 

13.27 - 'I don’t think it’s necessary or proportionate'

12.40 - Prime Minister says vaccine passports may come after everyone jabbed

Boris Johnson said there were many complex ethical issues to be considered when it came to vaccine passports.

Speaking to journalists at a trip to a London nursery earlier today, he said: "There are some people who for medical reasons can't get a vaccination, pregnant women can't get a vaccination at the moment, you've got to be careful about how you do this.

"You might only be able to implement a thorough-going vaccination passport scheme even if you wanted such a thing in the context of when absolutely everybody had been offered a vaccine."

"There are three basic components. There's the vaccine, there's your immunity you might have had after you've had Covid, and there's testing - they are three things that could work together."

He stressed no decisions had been made and that the system would absolutely not apply when beer gardens reopen on 12 April.

11.53 - Vote: what do you think about vaccine passports?

Make sure you vote in The Morning Advertiser's​ survey about suggestions pubs could have to ask customers to prove their 'Covid check' to socialise without restrictions.

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11.51 - Passport system suggestion 'unhelpful' says Admiral boss

All restrictions on pubs should be lifted on 21 June, the chief executive of Admiral Taverns has said.

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On the issue of vaccine passports, Chris Jowsey added: "Pubs across the UK are welcoming and inclusive places which play a huge part in bringing communities together. The idea of a vaccine passport system is unhelpful and would unfairly exclude many members of society who can't have a vaccine yet. 

"It is vital that pubs are allowed to open properly and provide a safe space for customers to socialise as they have continually done throughout the past year when permitted to open."

10.58 - MPs to vote on coronavirus legislation 

MPs will vote on extending emergency coronavirus laws for six months until 25 September with speculation that up to 60 Tory backbenchers could rebel.

Backbenchers have been further infuriated by the proposals surrounding vaccine passports.

However, the Prime Minister's spokesman defended the proposed extension and said: "The Coronavirus Act needs a renewal vote every six months, that will mean this is the second such vote."

The Government is hopeful that pubs will be able to resume indoor trade from 17 May and remaining restrictions will be lifted from 21 June, as per the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown.

10.39 - Vaccine passport proposals could result in 'two-tier Britain'

Conservative MP and deputy chair of the Covid Recovery Group Steve Baker has said the vaccine passport proposals could lead to a "two-tier Britain."

He said: “Whether the state legislates for it, recommends it or simply allows it, the result will be the same: a two-tier Britain that prevents pregnant women from taking part in society, given that the government is telling them not to take the vaccine, or one where we turn back the clock and tolerate businesses turning away customers from communities which have shown an unfortunate hesitancy to take up the offer of a vaccine. We must not fall into this ghastly trap.”

Government sources have told various media outlets that measures under consideration involve proof of test results as well as of vaccination.

10.27 - 'Removing restrictions must not be linked to vaccine passport scheme'

Even voluntary vaccine passport systems could run the risk of causing "huge amounts of confusion among businesses, customers and staff," according to UKHospitality's Kate Nicholls.

Lockdown live: critics have hit back at the Government's suggestions to use health information to lift socialising limits at the pub (image: Getty/scaliger))
Lockdown live: critics have hit back at the Government's suggestions to use health information to lift socialising limits at the pub (image: Getty/scaliger)

She explained: "It could potentially give rise to a two-tier system of viability among businesses and a situation in which young staff members, due to be vaccinated last, are able to work in a pub, but not able to visit it socially.

“There is a concern among businesses that the eventual rolling back of restrictions, vital to business survival, may be linked to the use of a vaccine passport scheme. That cannot be allowed to happen. It would put businesses owners in a hugely invidious position and has the potential to effectively impose further unnecessary restrictions on businesses that cannot or will not operate a passport scheme.

“Over the past year our sector has been devastated and businesses have only known forced closure or the most severe restrictions. We need to avoid any further measures that give rise to the potential of further restrictions.

“A vaccine passport system may be useful in opening up international travel more quickly and it might play a role at large-scale events in the near future, but it should not be used for day-to-day hospitality. A vaccine passport scheme in pubs and the wider hospitality sector would not be the liberating move the Prime Minister believes it to be. It would see further restrictions imposed at the worst possible time."

09.15 - Social media reaction: what do publicans think about 'Covid checks'?

09.03 - Pub sector does not need more checks, says trade body boss

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said it is crucial that pub trips are not subject to mandatory vaccination certification.

“It is simply unworkable, would cause conflict between staff and customers and almost certainty result in breaches of equality rules," she added.

"Through the success of the vaccine rollout we need to throw off the shackles of coronavirus in line with the Government’s roadmap — not impose more checks on our ability to socialise and do business.”

Thursday 25 March, 09.01 - Government review into coronavirus status checks 

The Government is looking at rules that would see pubs able to ask customers to declare their Covid status — a recent test result or proof of vaccination — on entry.

Lockdown live: pubs may be able to ask punters for proof of their vaccination status, according to reports (image: Getty/ViewApart)
Lockdown live: pubs may be able to ask punters for proof of their vaccination status, according to reports (image: Getty/ViewApart)

It is part of a wider review into social distancing measures, due to be published in June. 

Speaking at a House of Commons Liaison Committee hearing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked about vaccine certificates.

"I think that's the kind of thing that may be up to individual publicans, it may be up to the landlord," he said.

Several newspapers have reported that Covid status checks could see pubs able to ease social distancing requirements whereas those who did not ask customers would be subject to tougher rules.

16.09 - Hostility from energy companies 'last thing' licensees need

The energy sector is refusing to supply many pubs, according to the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

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Some utility companies had refused to renew contracts or to supply energy to operators, even for domestic use. 

The BBPA said it was worried licensees would face refusals or be forced to pay inflated fees and urged operators to report issues to energy regulator Ofgem.

BBPA boss Emma McClarkin said: “Publicans have already suffered enough through this pandemic. The last thing they need is energy companies refusing to supply them or renew contracts.

“The regulations are clear that energy suppliers are obliged to provide domestic energy to a pub when it is lived in. Considering so many families live in pubs, Ofgem must really do the right thing and ensure these unfair behaviour is ended.

“It’s time for energy companies to show support for the sector through fair dealing.”

15.30 - Listen: the Lock In podcast

12.56 - Business rates relief cap will be 'major economic drag'

Trade body UKHospitality (UKH) has warned the business rates relief cap will endanger thousands of venues, with almost 8,000 venues having to pay full rates in July.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak declared an extension to the full business rates holiday for all hospitality businesses until June and then two-thirds off for the remainder of the financial year.

However, a cap of £2m on relief available to individual firms will jeopardise many businesses with either large sites or venues in high rental areas, UKH has said.

The association is calling on the Chancellor to extend the period for which the full rates relief would apply from three to six months and then reduce the level of relief to 50% for the rest of the year.

UKH boss Kate Nicholls said: “While the Budget was broadly positive for the hospitality sector with a range of welcome measures, the cap on business rates support really took the shine off things, by excluding so many potential recipients.

"The cap comes into effect just days after trading restrictions are due to be lifted and will put a major economic drag on the businesses affected and risk the jobs that they support."

12.33 - Welsh reopening date will be given when 'safe enough' 

Welsh pub operators have described feeling left in the dark without sector reopening dates.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has been hesitant to provide a reopening date, suggesting the Government may be able to consider reopening outdoor hospitality at the end of April.

Pubs and restaurants will be given a “reliable date” at a point when “the public health position is safe enough for us to do so,” Drakeford said.

The nation was not “immune” to experiencing the same accelerating case numbers experienced by several European nations that have been plunged into fresh lockdowns, he said.

For many operators, the lack of clarity has left them unable to recruit staff, fearful of running out of cash and losing trade to their more reassured English counterparts.

11.52 - How are the fourth and fifth self-employed grants different? 

Self-employed licensees will be able to claim two further grants to cover losses during the pandemic and The Morning Advertiser​ takes a look at the next rounds of funding, as the fifth differs from the previous grants.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed at the Budget earlier this month (Wednesday 3 March), the fourth Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) taxable grant will be set at 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid in one single instalment and capped at £7,500 – as the previous grants have been.

It will take 2019 to 2020 tax returns into account and will be open to operators who became self-employed in the tax year 2019 to 2020. The rest of the criteria for eligibility remains the same.

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

10.20 - Punch invests £1m in outdoor spaces

The operator of some 1,300 pubs across the UK, Punch has invested £1m in outdoor spaces such as beer gardens, patios and courtyards to support their sites in preparing for outdoor reopening in April. 

The success of the scheme will allow many pubs to open outdoors on the 12 April in keeping with the Government’s lockdown roadmap, including a number of sites which previously would have not had the capacity. 

In total, 662 Punch pubs in England are poised to welcome guests when outdoor trading is permitted in April. 

Reporting by Stuart Stone

09.41 - Slash beer duty to help pubs 'thrive,' MPs urge

More than 70 Conservatives MPs have signed a letter calling on the Chancellor to slash duty cut draught ales and lagers, according to The Evening Standard​ newspaper.

North West Durham MP Richard Holden organised the letter and said many venues were "struggling to survive."

“Some will simply not reopen," Holden added. "Given the important social as well as economic contribution they make to our communities, we think it is vital we do more to help them thrive.”

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey and former Culture Secretary Karen Bradley are among the 61 signatories, according to the newspaper.

Wednesday 24 March, 09.23 - Sector hardest hit by job losses

Hospitality bore the brunt of pandemic job losses, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday.

Lockdown live: there is high demand for roles in hospitality, according to the Indeed job board (image: Getty/Vasyl Dolmatov)
Lockdown live: there is high demand for roles in hospitality, according to the Indeed job board(image: Getty/Vasyl Dolmatov)

Payrolled employee numbers fell by 693,000 since February 2020, with more than half of this figure - 368,000 roles - lost in the hospitality sector.

UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls said the sector provided a vital “first step” for young people, as it was revealed that some 611,000 jobs were lost to to under-35 year olds. 

Jobhunters are eagerly looking for opportunities in pubs and restaurants as reopening nears, according jobs board Indeed.

Interest in bar jobs grew by 98% in the past two weeks while searches for waitressing jobs increased by 60%, the jobs board said. 

The board revealed that job postings in the hard-hit hospitality and food service sectors were almost 70% down on pre-pandemic levels.

The food preparation and service sector had seen a 21% increase in new job postings since 22 Feb 2021, when the Government set out provisional reopening dates for hospitality. 

Jack Kennedy, UK Economist at global job site Indeed, said: “Roadmaps out of lockdown and the success of the vaccine rollout are building optimism that the labour market will bounce back, as the release of lockdown unleashes pent-up demand for jobs in the hardest-hit sectors, including beauty, gyms, retail and hospitality."

There are concerns the end of furlough will see even more hospitality workers left jobless.

16.06 - Prime Minister to hold press conference

There will be a Downing Street press briefing later this evening (5pm), with Boris Johnson, Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty.

One year: the country is marking a year since a national lockdown was first ordered this week (image: Simon Dawson No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)
One year: the country is marking a year since a national lockdown was first ordered this week (image: Simon Dawson No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)

14.46 - 'Businesses have gone down the drain'

Brewers across the country took part in SIBA's #BrewersDownTheDrain event earlier this afternoon.

They called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to introduce grant support for breweries, similar to the Scottish Government's grants of up to £30,000.

SIBA chief executive James Calder said: “Small breweries are the lifeblood of our communities and have seen their businesses and livelihoods going down the drain because of the Covid pandemic and the closure of pubs. Today they are reminding the Chancellor what is at stake and what we’ll lose without direct support from the Government.

"The Scottish Government has introduced direct grants through the Brewers Support Fund and the Chancellor should extend this to include all brewers.”

14.23 - 'It was safer when customers ordered at the bar'

Pub operators have been discussing proposals from UKHospitality that would see customers allowed to order at a bar when indoor trade is allowed to resume in May.

New restrictions pubs

The trade association has urged the Government to review its rules around table service when pubs can reopen from this spring.

Licensees said they felt table service put staff at increased risk of the virus as well as pushing up costs.

One Facebook commenter said: "It was definitely safer for customers and staff at our pub when they ordered at the bar, but we did have enough space to do it. I think it's stupid that they gave a blanket rule for all pubs to abide by when every pub is different in shape, size, and layout.

"When staff go and take orders at the table it just increases the time spent with the customer where there are no screens. If say a member of staff had it they could then become 'super spreaders' and could risk passing it on to all the rest of the customers."

Another licensee, Karen James, said: "Imposing table service in hospitality settings is once again unfair discrimination towards the industry.

"The higher staffing costs incurred to implement table service especially at reduced trading levels is unjustified and wrong."

However, one operator said the success of the policy would be dependent on the pub. "For us, with limited space, having folk at the bar would be like herding cats," Catherine Verman wrote.

12.02 - Country silent to remember lives lost

The UK has just held a minute of silence to remember the lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic and reflect on the one-year anniversary of lockdown.

Nation silent: the country held a minute's silence at midday to remember the lives lost because of coronavirus (image: Getty/Ian Dyball)
Nation silent: the country held a minute's silence at midday to remember the lives lost because of coronavirus (image: Getty/Ian Dyball)

Some 126,000 people have died as a result of the virus, according to the latest official statistics. 

11.39 - Pubs mark lockdown anniversary 

11.22 - Rent moratorium extension ‘only defers the problem’

More than half (53%) of operators quizzed in an industry poll said the Government’s decision to extend the rent eviction ban is of ‘little support’ as simply it postpones the issue.

Survey: pubs shared their views on the rent moratorium extension
Survey: pubs shared their views on the rent moratorium extension

The Hospitality Leaders Poll, which is conducted by Lumina Intelligence on behalf of The Morning Advertiser​, MCA​, Big Hospitality ​and Restaurant​, quizzed 179 operators of which, 34% said the support was not helpful or long enough.

Just over one-in-10 (13%) respondents stated the extension provided a lot of meaningful support and was vital support for their business.

Meanwhile, the survey also asked operators which approaches would solve rent arrears issues. The most popular choice (40%) was for the Government to provide grants for landlords to pay arrears.

Reporting by Nikkie Thatcher

10.29 - Brewers call for more support

Small brewers have not received the same level of support as the wider hospitality sector, according to the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

The organisation is calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to introduce a direct grant for small brewers, like in Scotland.

10.06 - Country on 'cautious road to easing restrictions once and for all'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he hopes restrictions will be eased "once and for all," as the country prepares to reflect on one-year of lockdowns.

Day of reflection: the country marks one-year of lockdowns today (Tuesday 23 March) (image: Picture by Simon Dawson /No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)
Day of reflection: the country marks one-year of lockdowns today (Tuesday 23 March) (image: Picture by Simon Dawson /No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)

He said: "The past 12 months has taken a huge toll on us all, and I offer my sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones.

"Today, the anniversary of the first lockdown, is an opportunity to reflect on the past year - one of the most difficult in our country's history.

"We should also remember the great spirit shown by our nation over this past year.

"We have all played our part, whether it's working on the front line as a nurse or carer, working on vaccine development and supply, helping to get that jab into arms, home schooling your children, or just by staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus.

"It's because of every person in this country that lives have been saved, our NHS was protected, and we have started on our cautious road to easing restrictions once and for all."

Tuesday 23 March, 09.55 - Nation marks one year of lockdown 

It has been a year since the announcement of the first national lockdown.

Pubs across the country will switch their lights on at 8pm when Brits will light candles on their doorsteps to remember the lives lost to the pandemic.

As of today (Tuesday 23 March), the UK's official death toll is 126,172.

There will be a minute's silence held at midday.

15.41 - 'Follow data not dates,' trade body urges Government

UKHospitality has urged the Government to "follow data" when it comes to unlocking the country.

13.55 - What do operators think about a 'staycation boom'?

The Morning Advertiser​ spoke to operators of pubs with rooms about their hopes for accommodation bookings this summer.

Roy David, director of North-Devon based David Inns shared his concerns.

He said: “I question whether the highly publicised anticipated ‘staycation boom’, will indeed compensate for the loss of overseas visitors we see each year. To what level will the reopening of lockdown be affected by the financial constraints and job losses that communities all over the UK have suffered?

“The coastline in North Devon is extremely popular for its surfing. Going forward 2021’s success may well depend on many factors. Weather for the surfers, for which we have no control.”

Even a “booming 2021” would not be enough to “rectify the trade,” David added.

12.36 - Pubs should reopen 'without being strangled by restrictions'

Pubgoers should be able to order at the bar again when indoor trade is allowed to resume in May, UKHospitality has said.

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It urged the Government to change the reopening rules to reflect those in place in July 2020, when pubs reopened after the first national lockdown.

Customers should also be allowed to consume drinks while standing outdoors from May.

When beer gardens reopen in April, customers should be allowed to order via a hatch or outdoor till, the trade association said.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Hospitality can lead economic recovery in the UK, providing jobs to people who have lost them and continuing to serve those most in need in communities all over the country.

“To do this however, we need to be able to operate without being strangled by restrictions,” Nicholls added.

11.33 - 'The past year has been horrific for pubs'

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has said the "hard work" of the pub sector is "just beginning", as it hopes to rebuild after one year of trading restrictions and shutdowns.

She said: “There is no mincing words. The past year has been horrific for pubs. We’ve been hit harder than any other sector and the consequences have been dire and we are still not out of the woods yet.

“In some respects, the hard work is now just beginning. The endurance and determination of the sector has shone through though. Pubs have been in the eye of the storm but they have taken stock, adapted and come out fighting.

“They have effectively been asked to pick up the slack to ensure other sectors survive. It is not fair but it a task that perhaps only they could have risen to and they have done so admirably.”

11.12 - Sector's 'resourcefulness and resilience' praised by Prince of Wales

The Prince of Wales called the British hospitality sector "one of this country’s greatest success stories," in a video message during a Master Innholders’ event.

Royal message: the Prince of Wales said he understood the toll of restrictions on the hospitality sector (image: Getty/Oliver Huitson)
Royal message: the Prince of Wales said he understood the toll of restrictions on the hospitality sector (image: Getty/Oliver Huitson)

He said: “As you gather today, you all face much greater challenges than you have probably ever faced before. The continuing restrictions to control the virus pandemic have, I know, hit the hospitality sector harder than most and you can have no idea how much I feel for all under such impossible circumstances.

"I can only marvel at your resourcefulness and your resilience," he said during the 'Battered But Not Beaten’ online event.

"The last twelve months may well have battered us all, but this time will pass, and when it does, we know exactly to whom we should turn to help us celebrate! The point is that we need you all – so I can only send my warmest possible greetings to each and every one of you.”

10.52 - Outdoor hospitality reopening first is 'right', says scientist

It is right that outdoor hospitality reopens weeks ahead of indoor trade, a scientist has told the BBC Radio 4's Today​ programme.

Professor Andrew Haywood, professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Inclusion Health Research at UCL was asked if he was concerned about the reopening of outdoor hospitality, potentially on 12 April.

He said: "The thing about outdoor hospitality is that you are likely to be face to face and in conversation for longer, so maybe the risks are slightly higher than just meeting someone in the park for a stroll. But on the other hand, I think it is substantially lower risk than indoor hospitality so I think it is the right way to go about things."

His words come as the lawyers of trade duo Sacha Lord and Hugh Osmond are readying a judicial review into the phased reopening of hospitality.

Indoor venues should be permitted to reopen at the same time as non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality, the pair argue.

10.43 - Marquees ‘permitted for duration of summer’ without planning permission required

Pubs will be allowed to install marquees in beer gardens for the entire summer instead of 28 days currently allowed, without the requirement for planning permission, the Government announced over the weekend (Saturday 20 March), including venues that are listed buildings.

Reopening: the Government has stated pubs will be able to install marquees for the duration of summer, rather than the four weeks currently permitted (image: Getty/Avatar Knowmad)
Reopening: the Government has stated pubs will be able to install marquees for the duration of summer, rather than the four weeks currently permitted (image: Getty/Avatar Knowmad)

This is part of a £56m Welcome Back Fund aims to help councils increase tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas.

The Morning Advertiser ​has contacted the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to request more information around the erection of marques and for specifics about how long the duration will be and is currently waiting on a response.

10.24 - Brits encouraged to book staycations amid foreign holiday ban worries

Officials downplayed the possibility of Brits being able to holiday abroad this summer over the weekend, which could mean more people choose domestic holidays.

Holiday doubts: Brits have been encouraged to look forward to holidays in the UK this summer (image: Getty/Adrian Seliga)
Holiday doubts: Brits have been encouraged to look forward to holidays in the UK this summer (image: Getty/Adrian Seliga)

Travelling abroad for a holiday this summer was "extremely unlikely," a scientist on a Government advisory body said.

Holidaymakers could bring dangerous coronavirus variants back to the country, meaning the nation would face a "real risk" if international travel was permitted, Dr Mike Tildesley said.

What's more, defence secretary Ben Wallace told the BBC people should hold off on booking holidays as it would be "premature".

A Government taskforce will report to the Prime Minister on how and when international travel should resume on 12 April, with talk of a 'traffic light' system that would see countries with higher incidences of the virus subject to a travel ban.

Chief executive of St Austell Brewery Kevin Georgel encouraged Brits to support the country’s domestic tourism sector this summer.

Monday 22 March, 09.52 - One year on: 'some venues have never reopened'

It has now been a year since the Prime Minister ordered pubs to close (20 March), a few days before a full national lockdown was imposed (23 March).

One year: the country is marking a year since a national lockdown was first ordered this week (image: Simon Dawson No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)
One year: the country is marking a year since a national lockdown was first ordered this week (image: Simon Dawson No 10 Downing Street via Flickr)

Trade figures spoke about the anniversary on social media over the weekend.

There will be a National Day of Reflection this week (Tuesday 23 March) to commemorate the loss of life.

Pub group Young’s has said it will light up its pubs across London and the south east at 8pm for the first time since the December lockdown, to mark the day of remembrance. 

  • Is your business doing something to mark National Day of Reflection? Let us know about it via rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz​ 

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