The Government’s rules on families mixing over Christmas are ‘utterly perplexing’ and harshly single out pubs, Leicestershire brewer Everards has said.
The company, which has 168 pubs, has written to MPs who are due to vote today on the proposed tier regime, which will replace the national lockdown tomorrow.
Everards’ managing director Stephen Gould has warned pubs face perilous times and some are ‘genuinely at a precipice’ of being lost for good.
He said Government support in the form of business grants, the furlough scheme and VAT reductions to date had been welcome but expressed concerns about what might happen in the future.
He said: “Government announcements this week on tier structure and the implications for pubs are deeply worrying.”
He said if MPs back the Government today 133 of the company’s pubs in Tier 3 areas will be shut and only able to offer takeaway.
He said 35 would be in Tier 2 but added: “We believe 30 per cent will remain closed and 70 per cent will ‘give it a go’ with little hope of covering costs.”
And on the Christmas relaxation rules, Mr Gould added: “Pubs are being singled out very harshly when set against three households being allowed to mix in an unregulated environment (at home) at Christmas along with the relaxations announced to both indoor and outdoor events.
Mr Gould said 99 per cent of Everards pubs had been brilliant in implementing the Government’s Covid-19 secure regulations but said he believed the evidence suggesting hospitality venues added disproportionately to rising infection rates was ‘very thin and speculative’.
He said: “If the Government decides to hold to the Tier definitions in relation to pubs then for at least four months they will have closed Everards down.”
The tiers are due to be reviewed on December 16 with the possibility some areas could fall from Tier 3 to Tier 2 but Mr Gould warned, as it stands, that this would make no significant difference.
Everards is calling for an enhanced support financial package for pubs should the measures be passed today and a redefinition of the rules for pubs under Tier 2.