BBPA launches 'Countdown to Freedom'

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Countdown to freedom: the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has urged the Government to lift all sector restrictions on 21 June (image: Getty/nautiluz56)
Countdown to freedom: the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has urged the Government to lift all sector restrictions on 21 June (image: Getty/nautiluz56)

Related tags: Coronavirus, Legislation, Health and safety, lockdown, Bbpa, Sacha Lord, Social Distancing

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has launched a campaign imploring the Government to lift coronavirus limits for pubs this month (June).

A #Countdown2Freedom​ social media series will highlight the hit to trade operators have felt under existing rules including table service and social distancing.

Ministers are set to examine data on a fresh coronavirus variant, which was first identified in India, on 14 June to determine whether or not to progress with the 21 June easing date.

One in four of Britain’s licensed premises have yet to reopen, snapshot research from CGA and AlixPartners has revealed while the BBPA estimated upwards of 2,000 pubs were shut.

And for the 95% of pubs the BBPA estimates are currently trading, many will not be viable until rules are scrapped, the organisation said.

Recovery in jeopardy 

BBPA boss Emma McClarkin said remaining legal limits “jeopardise the recovery of the sector” and called for all restrictions to be lifted on 21 June.

She added: “More and more people are getting the vaccine each day. It’s time for the restrictions on our freedoms to be replaced by the protection of the vaccination and for businesses to get back to trading as normal.

“Our campaign will highlight the impact current restrictions are having to the recovery of thousands of pub, brewing and hospitality businesses. It will remind people of the freedoms they are looking forward to enjoying in pubs which they still miss, such as standing drinking, bar service and cheering on their team while watching live sport.”

It comes as scientists have called for a delay to the Government’s unlocking roadmap​ and said the so-called Delta variant could harm those with little or no vaccination protection.

Other sector figureheads have said a successful vaccination rollout and low death numbers mean nightlife venues can reopen safely​ and rules on trading venues should be eased.

Wave of panic

Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord has said the uncertainty over the 21 June easing has caused a “wave of panic” among operators.

“While the ringing of tills and clinking of pint glasses have been welcome sounds to the ears of bar owners, the scars of the pandemic will take years to heal," he explained. "Having spent half a billion on measures to create safe environments, the vast majority are currently trading at a loss.”

Data must be used to justify any continued restrictions, Lord cautioned. “So long as hospitalisations remain low, we must continue on our path to normality, for the mental health of operators and society at large.”

Ministers will look at whether the country meets four tests to ease measures​:

  1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  4. The assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.

Related topics: Legislation

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