More than half of the pubs would not reopen and the rest would be at the mercy of the weather, as part of tentative plans to allow beer garden service from April, the trade body said. industry.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said 29,000 pubs, around 60%, do not have a garden or outdoor space large enough to accommodate drinkers without also needing to open up indoor spaces.
The prediction comes amid speculation the government will allow pubs to host outside guests from April, easing some of the pressure on an industry that has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic .
The BBPA is pushing for permission to serve customers inside as soon as non-essential stores are allowed to reopen. He said about 75% of pubs have outdoor space, but only 40% could open it if restrictions on indoor movement persist. Most of those that could open would not be profitable due to the logistical challenges and unpredictable weather conditions in April, he said.
“Even if some pubs tried to open outdoors only in April, it would take heavy rains and they would find it all was for naught,” said BBPA executive director Emma McClarkin.
“For many pubs the gardens are at the back and the only way to get there is from inside. And of course, a toilet would still have to be provided.
“We question the thinking of the government behind this and suggest they consult with us as a sector on this.”
The trade body estimates that lasting restrictions on domestic service would mean only 17% of UK pub capacity would be available, resulting in a loss of turnover of £ 1.5bn compared to normal times .
Pubs that could only partially open would require continued government subsidies, the BBPA said.
“We are urging the government to open our pubs indoors – and outdoors – when non-essential retail businesses also open. By then, the vaccine will have been rolled out to millions more, and pubs will be able to open while continuing to follow exemplary hygiene measures, leading standards in guidance and social distancing.
“Until then, the government must do everything in its power to support our sector until it opens up to trade properly in the next budget.”
The Guardian has asked the government for comment.