Hospitality hails ‘freedom day’ as Boris Johnson confirms lockdown lifting

Pubs, bars, nightlife venues and industry leaders are hailing the confirmation that “freedom day” will go ahead as planned on 19 July, a move it’s anticipated will enable 2,000 pubs to reopen. 

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has hailed the news that further coronavirus restrictions will be lifted as anticipated on 19 July, what is being called “freedom day”.

According to the trade association, the move will allow more than 2,000 pubs that could not previously operate due to stricter restrictions to reopen their doors.

Here is how figures across the industry are reacting to the news.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association.

“After nearly 18 months of closure or heavy restrictions, ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday 19th July is a huge milestone for our sector. 

“It means our beloved locals can properly reopen and operate as they are meant to do so. A pint on ‘Freedom Day’ is going to be all the more special!  

“We anticipate some 2,000 more pubs could reopen from July 19th. These are pubs that were unable to reopen and operate viably because of the restrictions.  

“The recovery of our sector is just beginning with the last 18 months practically being written off for them. Having been one of the worst hit sectors by lockdown, our pubs and brewers now need the Government to invest in them by reforming VAT, beer duty and business rates to reduce the unfair tax burden they face and aid their recovery. We urge people who want to help their local and see it thrive to support the Long Live the Local campaign and sign the petition at www.LongLiveTheLocal.pub. With the right investment, the brewing and pub sector have a vital role to play in building back better in communities across the country.  

“We do have concerns over guidance for the sector, expected to be published soon, as restrictions are lifted. We await the detail of this but are resolute that any new guidance must not be used to impose unnecessary and unfair restrictions on pubs via the backdoor – resulting in ‘Freedom Day’ for pubs being in name only.” 

Chief Executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) James Calder.

“Today the Prime Minister has finally given brewers and pubs the green light to lift the remaining hospitality restrictions on July 19th. Our sector should be hailed for having complied with every instruction, every piece of guidance and every rule, despite how maddening and damaging many of them often were. This is because in the majority, they have helped to get us to where we are as a country.

“Yet since last week’s announcement, muddled messaging and rowing back by Government threatens to undermine confidence in the reopening and long-term recovery of our sector. We now need a message of confidence and reassurance as we did in Summer 2020 around Eat Out to Help Out – because as we proved, hospitality is safe. As recent events have shown, pubs are vital to the health, wellbeing, and happiness of the nation.

“With this announcement we now begin the long road to recovery for our sector and for the country. Over the past 16 months, small brewers have lost 80% of their on-sales and built-up debts averaging £30,000 which now must be repaid. Finally lifting the restrictions will give them the opportunity to begin to rebuild their business but only if the public have the confidence to return.”

CAMRA Chief Executive Tom Stainer.

“The lifting of these final restrictions is a huge step on the road to recovery for England’s pubs, social clubs and breweries. 19th July will be the opportunity for our pubs to be able to trade at full capacity, with table-service replaced by people ordering and chatting at the bar.

“Not only will this see the much-anticipated return of the traditional pub experience for customers, it will also help licencees make ends meet after a devastating 16 months.

“CAMRA will continue to campaign for the Government to continue to support pubs, including by changing the rate of duty charged on draught beer served in pubs to help them compete with supermarkets. Pubs are also in need of clarity from the Government as restrictions lift, namely on what is expected of businesses in continued contact tracing and checking COVID status, which we hope will be released in the coming days.

“We are calling on everyone to support their local pubs, social clubs and the great local breweries that serve them in the weeks and months ahead. As restrictions lift across the UK, we can help the Great British pub recover, thrive and cement their place at the heart of community life up and down the country.”

Hospitality venues have been forced to contend with a bruising 18 months, facing tough trading restrictions, bills to make their premises Covid-secure, rolling lockdowns and much more.

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