Less than one fifth of bars and pubs in the UK can offer indoor drinking, with 59,000 venues temporarily closed due to new restrictions, figures from CGA have showed.

According to research from CGA’s Market Recovery Monitor, more than 59,000 sites in England are currently closed, except for takeaway, under the government’s restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19 in England. The figure has risen from 37,000 sites shut as a result of restrictions last week.

CGA also reported that 33,000 licensed premises are currently in tier two areas, where alcoholic drinks cannot be sold unless with substantial meals. Just 2,000 of England’s on-trade outlets are located in tier one areas, whereby bars must close at 10pm.

In Scotland, three quarters of licensed venues are in areas with early closing and a ban on alcoholic drinks sales on site.

In Wales, all venues were subject to similar restrictions while the study was carried out, however a nationwide lockdown was implemented across the country from Sunday (20 December), which forced hospitality venues to close.

Karl Chessell, business unit director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “These figures show the catastrophic and still growing impacts of restrictions on hospitality’s ability to trade.

“Tipping London and many other areas of England into tier three is a hammer blow for operators, consumers and businesses right along the supply chain. Trading in tier two is little easier, and for pubs and bars that depend on drinks sales, the limits effectively spell lockdown.

“With trading in Scotland and Wales made just as tough in recent weeks, it is sadly going to be the bleakest of Christmases for the sector. Urgent and sustained financial support is essential if many of the venues that have been forced to shut this week do not remain closed for good.”

On Saturday (19 December), the UK government announced an additional fourth tier to the current three-tier restrictions. Under the strictest fourth tier, a stay at home message will be put into law and people should not leave the region except for essential travel, including work and education.

As with tier three, hospitality venues must close, with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway.

The measures are in place in areas in the south east of England, including London, Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Portsmouth and Peterborough.
Via The Spirits Business
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