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UK brewery will donate £25 to customers’ pub, restaurant, or shop of choice

A UK brewery is offering customers who order 15 beers online a chance to donate credit to their favourite bar, pub, restaurant or retail outlet to keep businesses afloat as coronavirus panic leaves high streets empty.

Pressure Drop Brewing, which is based in north London, said that it will give £25 credit to a customers’ independent pub, restaurant or retail outlet of their choice when they order 15 cans or more from the company’s website.

The offer came a day after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people to avoid public venues such as pubs, bars, restaurants and theatres in an effort to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

There are now around 1,950 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. NHS guidelines suggest a number of ways to prevent the disease from spreading, including avoiding events with large groups of people, and avoiding “social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas.”

The advice has left high street businesses without customers. Some bars and restaurants have already reported a significant decline in footfall and sales over the past week.

Smaller premises, particularly those that have only launched in the past year, are concerned this won’t be enough to help them weather months of high street stagnation.

Sienna O’Rourke, sales and marketing manager at Pressure Drop, said the offer is open-ended at this stage.

“As with all of this, we hope it is short but are prepared for it to be longer,” she told db.

“We are all going to have to support each other when things get moving again.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended a 12 month hiatus on business rate payments announced in last week’s budget to cover the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors on Tuesday (17 March). Further grants were offered to businesses with a rateable value below £51,000, and Sunak said the government would do “whatever it takes” to deal with Covid-19.

O’Rourke told db Pressure Drop has already requested payment freezes on the loans it has, as well as for other fixed costs.

“We have never crowdfunded or had external investment, so we don’t have large cash reserves.”

The Chancellor’s payment holidays will allow businesses to keep going without paying taxes and some bills for a year.

However, a report published by a Covid-19 research team at Imperial College London showed that, if the government’s social distancing policy to be fully effective in preventing a second peak of coronavirus cases later in the year, it may need to be in place for much longer that 12 months.

The report said a short-term social distancing policy (of around three months), “might reduce deaths seen in the epidemic by up to half, and peak healthcare demand by two-thirds.”

It has already been reported that coronavirus cases are set to peak around Easter, but there could be a second wave of cases later in the year.

The researchers suggested one way to ease any strain on NHS services would be to suppress this peak until vaccines for the virus can be made widely available, which could take some time.

It said that “to avoid a rebound in transmission, these policies will need to be maintained until large stocks of vaccine are available to immunise the population – which could be 18 months or more.”

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