CAMRA urges ‘extreme caution’ from Gov over warning consumers away from pubs

By Amelie Maurice-Jones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Exercise caution: CAMRA has warned Government to be careful when advising the public (Getty/ yevtony)
Exercise caution: CAMRA has warned Government to be careful when advising the public (Getty/ yevtony)

Related tags: Camra, Health and safety, Government, Coronavirus, Finance

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has compelled the UK Government to exercise caution when making statements about cancelling social plans in light of the Omicron variant, as such statements would be “devastating” for venues.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of Plan B Covid rules means face masks are compulsory in most indoor venues other than hospitality, and NHS Covid Passes will become mandatory in specific settings including nightclubs.

What’s more, people were asked to work from home if possible following the rapid spread of Omicron Covid cases, which early analysis suggests could be doubling at a rate of two and a half to three days.

CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona said: “Over the weekend, we have heard reports from various quarters of the beer and pub world of booking cancellations and a downturn in trade. 

“The UK Government needs to understand the severity of the situation for pubs, social clubs, brewers, and cider makers. Before the announced move to Plan B restrictions in England, the sector was already facing an employment, supply chain, and cost of goods crisis, as well as trade remaining below pre-pandemic levels.”

Drop in bookings

Countrywide operators have announced a significant “haemorrhaging” of bookings. The chef-patron of gastropub the Parkers Arms in Newton-in-Bowland, Lancashire said bookings fell by 35% within two days of Boris Johnson’s Omicron press statement.

Stosie Madi critiqued the Government’s lack of clarity. She called the latest Covid advice “absolute utter nonsense, there’s always mixed messages, no clarity, no consistency.

“What I have an issue with is the way they just make random statements without thinking about what the consequences are going to be on the business community, and without helping the business community absorb any of the losses incurred when they make these statements.”

Devastating impact

According to Antona, it was imperative governments across the UK exercised extreme caution and understood the impact of any statements they made about cancelling social plans.

This risks a return to the situation in March 2020 where the public were urged to stay away from pubs without the necessary financial compensation and employment support for businesses being place.

Antona said: “This would be devastating for licensees, brewers, and consumers alike, and destroy any progress made to rebuilding our once-thriving beer and pub sector.” 

Related topics: Legislation

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