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Pubs trading falls 20% on pre-Covid levels despite reopening indoors

The BPPA has called for the removal of Covid restrictions, after revealing that trading in pubs was 20% lower in the first week of reopening indoors compared to the same period in 2019.

The organisation, which represents the UK pub sector, argued that the implementation of restrictions and social distancing measures have resulted in in lower takings, which is making businesses unviable.

Although 95% of pubs have reopened the BBPA said that turnover for the sector for the week of 17 May was only 80% of the total for the same period in 2019, the last pre-pandemic comparable. The figure was based on a survey of its members.

It said that if this shortfall continues, the average pub would need to sell nearly 25,000 more pints a year to make up for potential lost turnover of around £94,000 a year each.

Restrictions in place in England include operating table service only with no standing drinking allowed, restricting the size of groups to six, enforcing the 1 metre plus rule for social distancing, and ensuring face masks are worn other than when sat at a table inside or if outdoors.

The organisation is urging the government to stick to its plan to lift all restrictions in pubs on 21 June, which are impeding pubs recovery and threatening their survival.

The BBPA’s chief executive Emma McClarkin called it “incredibly concerning”.

“Pubs trade on incredibly small margins, so being 20% down on normal times is huge and incredibly concerning,” she said.

“What is especially worrying is that there was a lot of enthusiasm to visit the pub when they first reopened indoors. When that initial enthusiasm to return to the local cools down, trade could get even worse, leaving pubs unable to get beyond break even.”

She argued that if the Government’s four tests for the removal of restrictions are met, it must remove them, warning that if not, more grant support would be “essential” to tie pubs over.

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