A third of independent licensed venues still shut

By Nikkie Thatcher contact

- Last updated on GMT

Closed for good: CGA boss Karl Chessell also estimated the licensed sector had lost 10,000 venues since the start of the coronavirus pandemic (image: Getty/callum redgrave-close)
Closed for good: CGA boss Karl Chessell also estimated the licensed sector had lost 10,000 venues since the start of the coronavirus pandemic (image: Getty/callum redgrave-close)

Related tags: Cga, Legislation, Late-night venues, England, Scotland, Wales

About two thirds (66.9%) of independent venues in the on-trade have now reopened compared to 93.1% of managed sites, research has found.

The Market Recovery Monitor ​from CGA and AlixPartners found 25,000 licensed premises had remained closed at the end of May​ this year, with the delay to the relaxing all social restrictions putting them at significant risk of permanent closure.

However, while a large proportion of food pubs (91.9%) have been able to trade again, alongside 92.9% of high street pubs and 93.9% of casual dining restaurants, venues that rely on late-night trade such as nightclubs and bars, have seen much lower percentages of reopening (49.9% and 72.9% respectively).

City centres have seen a fuller reopening where 81.3% are now trading compared to suburban, which is just over three quarters (75.4%) and 72.8% in rural areas.

Central to economy revival

Furthermore, in Wales 69.8% of licensed venues have now reopened while England has seen 76.5% and Scotland 77.6%.

CGA director for hospitality and food EMEA Karl Chessell said: “Britain already has nearly 10,000 fewer licensed premises than before the pandemic and that number will sadly rise as a result of the Government’s delay.

“Coming as it does on top of a mountain of challenges on debt, tax, rising costs, recruitment and much more, hospitality now deserves sustained financial backing to save thousands of businesses and jobs, and the Government extension of the ban on commercial evictions of tenants is a welcome first step.

“The hospitality sector’s recovery is central to the UK’s economy revival and more support like this is vital if we are to prevent further casualties.”

Devastating blow

AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith highlighted how many operators will have reopened in anticipation of restrictions falling away today (Monday 21 June).

He said: “While far from ideal, knowing ‘freedom day’ was on the horizon meant operators could battle through this challenging time, perhaps welcoming team members back to the business in anticipation and getting operations up to speed.

“A further delay of four weeks is a devastating blow, creating significantly uncertainty and further financial strain.

“At a time when Euro 2020 is in full swing and there is a feel-good factor across the country, this extension to restrictions could not have come at a worse time for pubs and other drink-led venues.”

Related topics: Legislation

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