Survey warns 72% of on-trade venues face closure

19th November, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

Almost three quarters of UK hospitality businesses fear they may be forced to close in 2021 without further government support, according to a new study.

A survey commissioned by three hospitality trade groups warned 72% of businesses could close

The CGA study, commissioned by trade bodies the British Beer & Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping and UK Hospitality, found 72% of businesses in the hospitality sector expect to become unviable and close in 2021.

The trade groups are urging the UK government to offer greater financial aid, such as larger grants, as the current level of support is “simply not enough” to help businesses survive.

The survey also highlighted that the three-tier system across England, introduced in October before a second national lockdown, was ‘particularly damaging’ to hospitality businesses.

Under the strictest tier three rules, which forced on-trade venues to shut unless they were serving food, 94% of those polled said their venues would be unviable or operating at a loss if forced to return to these measures when the current lockdown legislation expires on 2 December.

In tier two, 76% of participants said their business would be unviable, while just 25% of operators working under tier one said they would be able to turn a profit under the rules. Tier one (medium risk) should also be relaxed further, according to the trade bodies.

A joint statement from the three organisations said: “The evidence is here to see of the devastating, long-term impact the government’s restrictions are having on hospitality and pub businesses.

“Without a change in approach and more support from government, much of our sector could be gone within a year – that means businesses and jobs lost plus much-loved venues closed forever.

“We recognise that local restrictions will need to be based on local risk levels, but to ensure our sector can bring people together properly this Christmas and beyond, and crucially provide them a safe environment to socialise in, we believe the tier system should be fine-tuned. That means relaxing the ban on more than one household in tier two and extending the 10pm hard curfew cut-off point.

“Those pubs and hospitality venues facing tier three restrictions currently have an impossible task of trying to remain viable as businesses. In recognition of this, the government must enable wet-led pubs to reopen in tier three where they do not serve food, as well as significantly enhance the grant support for those businesses not viable across all tiers, but especially those in tier three. This will ensure their very survival so they can re-open once more when we are through the worst of this crisis.”

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