As a brewery and pub operator we have been lobbying the Government to show us the science behind their decisions. The latest revelations, with Ministers apparently partly basing the strict measures for revellers on outbreaks in Japan, China, South Korea and Indonesia are not quite what we were expecting. The policy paper shows Covid clusters studied include a super-spreading event in Vietnam linked to a poorly ventilated bar and concerns were raised over transmission at a wedding dinner in Hong Kong when face masks were not worn.
We are happy to comply with any measures necessary that will help stop the spread of Covid 19 and from the outset have done everything to comply with track and trace, social distancing, wearing of masks and early closing but all we ask is that decisions made are supported by strong and robust science.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “This so- called evidence is incredibly thin. Comparing British pubs with South Korean nightclubs is ridiculous. It’s comparing apples and oranges.”
James Clarke, Managing Director, Hook Norton Brewery said “The Tier system as outlined last week is simply incomprehensible. However the first matter of huge concern is that if these regulations are voted through as is, it would be 31st March before they are subjected to Parliamentary scrutiny again. So four months where a few ministers decide what you can do, where you can go, and who you can meet. That is not democracy.
The hospitality sector is on its knees. A lot of businesses will simply not recover. And with it come ridiculous conditions, such as in Tier 2 having to have a substantial meal if you drink alcohol. Even if you meet in a group of six outside, if you want a beer, you have to have a substantial meal. But you can drink as much orange juice or coffee as you like, and not have to have a meal. Where on earth is the science behind this?
20% of our pubs are unable to open, due to being in Tier 3 Warwickshire; how on earth can a county go from Tier 1 to Tier 3? And in Tier 2, yes they can open, but the conditions are such that it is simply unviable for many pubs. A much improved level of financial support will be needed for pubs. The last small grants were almost exclusively absorbed by Employer NI and pension contributions.
Less than 2% of infection transmission was traced back to pubs; they are part of the solution, not part of the problem. We hope that the Government see’s sense and listens to the views of the hospitality industry.”
We ask you to lobby your local MP and help support your pubs.