One in four British on-trade venues still shut

1st June, 2021 by Nicola Carruthers

Nearly a quarter of licensed premises in Britain remain closed despite the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, according to new data.

More than a quarter of bars (27%) remain shut despite the return of indoor service

New Market Recovery Monitor research from CGA and Alix Partners showed just under 25,000 licensed venues (23.7%) are still closed.

CGA said this illustrates the challenges faced by the hospitality sector as it reopens to customers after long periods of closure. On 17 May, England’s on-trade venues were allowed to reopen for indoor service.

However, the report showed that just over three quarters of venues in England (76.6%) and Scotland (77.4%) are open, while Wales reported a smaller number (69.6%).

Furthermore, pubs fared slightly better than restaurants. Approximately nine in 10 high street pubs (92.9%), food pubs (91.8%) and community pubs (89.6%) are open, alongside 89.2% of casual dining sites and other restaurants.

More than a quarter of bars (27%) remain shut, as well as 45.2% of sports and social clubs across Britain.

Karl Chessell, CGA director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Many will have decided that restrictions and space constraints make opening unviable, while some sectors like late-night bars and nightclubs are still completely off-limits.

“It will be an anxious wait to see how many of the venues that are holding on until the final easing of restrictions will be able to make it through. Sustained support is clearly going to be needed to save thousands of vulnerable businesses and jobs.”

A previous report from CGA and Alix Partners revealed that only a third (32.9%) of Britain’s licensed premises were open during the first phase of reopening when venues were allowed to serve customers outdoors.

More than 8,500 premises (7.4%) have already closed for good, according to CGA.

Graeme Smith, a managing director at Alix Partners, warned that the removal of all Covid-19 restrictions on the scheduled date of 21 June “remains a critical hurdle to overcome”.

He continued: “Without restrictions being removed, many sites will not be viable and we may see these recent positive reopening trends reverse.”

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