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Bar closures shown to impact mental health

A YouGov poll has revealed 66% of adults believe the closure of cafés, bars and restaurants during pandemic caused a decline in mental health.

Almost half of participants admitted that the shutdown of venues had affected their own mental health

The YouGov poll, which surveyed 11,400 adults from 10 countries, found that two-thirds of respondents agreed the closure of hospitality venues during the pandemic negatively impacted the ‘social and mental wellbeing of the general population’.

Furthermore, almost half (45%) of respondents agreed their own mental health had been affected for the worse and, since experiencing lockdown, 57% admitted to having an improved understanding of the contribution of venues to mental health. In South Africa, this figure clocked in at a staggering 77%, while in Mexico, 70% agreed with this.

The poll was commissioned by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), and surveyed adults in the UK, the US, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Australia, France, Japan, Brazil and the Czech Republic.

Henry Ashworth, IARD president and CEO, said: “The survey work highlights just how essential cafés, bars, and restaurants are to communities and our social and mental wellbeing as individuals.

“As well as being major employers, they make our communities vibrant and enjoyable places to live and work – creating important spaces for us to socialise and relax. It’s now clear that having experienced life without hospitality venues, we all have a renewed appreciation of just how vital a role they play.”

When respondents were asked what factors have most impacted their happiness since restrictions lifted, 45% claimed it was the opportunity to socialise with friends and family outside the home.

The report also includes research undertaken by World Thinks, a focus group, which interviewed 74 patrons in five cities (London, New York, Mexico City, Cape Town and Barcelona). The results revealed that participants from all regions felt negatively impacted by the closure of venues, with feelings of boredom and isolation commonly found amongst individuals’ responses.

Respondents in ‘markets with less government support’ made references to widespread job losses when asked about the closure of venues, and 58% of respondents to World Thinks’ survey would like to see the improved cleanliness across venues maintained once restrictions are lifted.

Ashworth added: “The introduction of additional safety measures, such as improved cleanliness, has set the stage for us to rebuild a safe and thriving café, bar and restaurant culture, which has been so sorely missed by so many.

“It is incumbent on us all to enjoy these spaces responsibly as they reopen, to benefit our social and mental wellbeing and that of whole communities alongside protecting our physical health.”

In recent hospitality news, the latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and Alix Partners revealed Great Britain’s hospitality sector lost 980 sites between July and September 2021.

However, venues continue to pop up across the world; check out our round-up of the top 10 hottest bar openings last month.

The fallout from the pandemic has been hard on many people working in the spirits industry. Earlier this year, The Spirits Business looked into how the trade is putting wellbeing first.

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