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  • The critical importance of engaging our customers in Covid secure practices: An open letter to the pub sector

    18 August 2020

    Test and Trace is a key part of maintaining customer confidence and cementing pubs as being responsible traders as mitigation of the pandemic continues. The impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry has been dramatic and far reaching. When we closed our doors in March, we had no idea how, or indeed if, we would weather this storm. Since then, together with other key industry bodies we have collaborated to ensure the collective voices and challenges of those we represent were taken to Government, leaving them in no doubt about the full impact of the pandemic on our sector and the support therefore required to sustain pubs through this period.   We believe that your hard work and dedication in ensuring you have reopened your businesses safely, both for your team members and your customers, along with the support packages that have been secured, has enabled a positive and welcome return to trading for the majority of pubs in recent weeks.   We have all independently surveyed our members to ensure we are aware of the challenges facing you at every stage, and we therefore know that one of the most important factors impacting business survival during this period continues to be Consumer Confidence. The Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) scheme has therefore been a real boost in encouraging nervous consumers to visit pubs and restaurants where they may have otherwise stayed at home.   Report data taken from the Yumpingo and CGA campaign “We hear you”, reveals that nearly 80% of consumers make their choice about which venue they will visit, based on the precautionary COVID-19 measures those businesses have put in place. Initial nervousness about venturing out to eat and drink is decreasing, with also 40% of customers visiting venues completely new to them.  Engaging customers with clear communication on new layouts and ways of working is at the heart of their confidence and unfortunately some businesses are not hitting the expectations of their customers.   In the Customer Sentiment Tracker produced by KAM Media in association with Feed It Back, there has been a small but steady decline in the satisfaction felt by customers since reopening. Some venues however, continue to score very highly, showing that the right approach is winning consumers over. With initial confidence dwindling however, those not doing everything they can to reassure their customers with COVID-19 measures, could stand to lose out to those who are.   Proactively engaging all of your customers in our venues’ new ways of working has now clearly become a business critical issue.  Without high levels of customer confidence supporting trade now and critically building momentum moving forward, we will not see the ongoing revenues that will be needed to sustain many of our venues.   Test & Trace is a key part of this. The vast majority of consumers are willing to give their contact details, yet there remains considerable variation from business to business around the procedures for how these details are taken.  A robust procedure, not only enables the NHS to identify and quickly limit the spread of any COVID-19 outbreaks, but is also essential in underpinning continued consumer confidence in hospitality as a sector.   With face coverings mandatory in all other public areas from galleries and museums through to shops and public transport, it is vital that we play our part in keeping our customers safe with a specific emphasis on not only collecting customer details, but also ensuring that we only take bookings for a maximum of 2 households when seated indoors.   Whilst venues cannot categorically know this to be true, the responsibility remains with us as businesses to ask those questions, limit table sizes and understand the consequences for those not adhering to the guidance.  As always, the majority are playing their part, but with recent reports of hospitality venues not asking for these basic details on arrival, the reality for our industry is that these guidelines will be significantly strengthened and may soon become mandatory in England, as with Wales and Scotland. Not explicitly delivering these requirements, will increasingly lead to a real risk of significant business disruption.   We recognise the many challenges that you are all facing and we are all here to fully support our members through this challenging period.  At the heart of a successful recovery will be our collective ability to meet the expectations of our customers, both now and into the future, ensuring that we have sustainable businesses, providing the fantastic hospitality experience that we deliver so well.   Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the BBPA said: “The Government has provided our sector with valuable financial support. It is our responsibility to prove that we can be relied upon to keep our customers safe with the measures that we have put in place. In the few cases identified by Test & Trace, our sector has reacted swiftly and efficiently to ensure the safety of everyone involved and proved that hospitality businesses have always been adept at dealing with health and safety within their venues. Ensuring details are collected across the board will be key to keeping our venues open and trading once we head into Autumn.”   UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “There are many methods that can be used to collate the simple data required for Test & Trace, and we have seen widespread support from consumers when it comes to providing those details.   “We must come together as a sector to show how committed we are to ensuring the continued safety of our customers and teams, at a time where we are seeing a huge surge in customer numbers with customers taking advantage of the “Enjoy Summer Safely” campaign.”   Steven Alton, CEO of the BII said: “Since pubs have reopened, communities have started to come back to life again. We need to ensure we do all we can to protect our teams and customers and help prevent further lockdowns. Pubs are so much more than just places to eat and drink, and to lose the confidence of people to return to a space where they can come together and connect with each other could cause long term damage to the social fabric of our society.”

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  • Joint statement concerning local lockdown measures in Greater Manchester

    17 August 2020

    Joint statement on behalf of Admiral Taverns, Greene King, Hydes, Joseph Holt Brewery, JW Lees, Marston’s PLC, Punch Pubs & Co., Robinsons Brewery, Star Pubs & Bars and Stonegate Pub Company concerning local lockdown measures in Greater Manchester: “The COVID-19 pandemic has given us all a new set of responsibilities. They are responsibilities that we all take incredibly seriously and we know that we all have an important role to play in ensuring the virus is controlled in Greater Manchester and beyond. "It is vital that the trade and all industry stakeholders continue to follow the Government guidance on measures to restrict the spread and keep venues safe. In particular we continue to support the track and trace measures in collecting customer details every time that they visit a pub wherever possible. "We also call on the public to accept their role here too, working with pubs, bars and restaurants in following guidance put in place, respecting staff and providing their contact details in support of track and trace. It is in everyone’s best interests that we continue to act responsibly and restrict the virus wherever we can.”   This unprecedented joint statement has been backed by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser: Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester said: “I have called for the safe return of the pub and hospitality industry and I welcome the fact that the majority are complying with all the Government Guidelines, but the majority are being let down by the minority who are not taking the regulations seriously.  I am happy to support the sector but we do need the whole industry to step up. “I am also asking the public to continue to follow the guidelines that are in place to keep them safe. Most people are doing so, but some are not and I urge those people to think twice. If you get Coronavirus, you may not know, and spread the infection further in your home and your community. "We are all adjusting to a new situation, and I know it is difficult, but now is not the time to give up. We must all work to reduce the rates of infection within our city-region.”   Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, said: “The public must play their part in helping to stop the spread of Coronavirus. It is on us to respect social distancing, track and trace and all of the measures that are in place to keep us safe. While some may feel that they aren’t in the ‘at risk’ age group, it is their family and grandparents at home who they are putting at risk and I urge them to consider that when planning a night out with large groups. “The majority of venues are working extremely hard to keep customers and staff safe, and I thank them for that. It is only by working together that we can overcome this devastating time for the sector.”

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  • No US tariff on beer a welcome relief for Britain’s brewers

    13 August 2020

    Decision by US, a market worth £107 million to British brewers, will aid British beer’s recovery from COVID-19 The British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs in the UK, has today welcomed the decision from the US not to place tariffs on beer imported from the UK. The US Trade Representative (USTR) was considering revising the retaliatory tariffs it has placed on various goods imported from  EU countries to include beer made from malt. Last night it was announced that while tariffs will remain on other products such as Scotch Whisky, beer will continue to be excluded. The British Beer & Pub Association said the outcome was a welcome relief for British brewers who are looking to recover their businesses following the COVID-19 lockdown, and is a positive move for the future of trade for the sector with the US. Currently, more British beer is sent to the USA than to all of the non-EU nations combined. The USA is also the single biggest market for British brewers worth £107m alone.   Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “The decision by the US not to put tariffs on beer is a welcome relief for Britain’s brewers. Our world class brewers send more beer to the USA than to all the non-EU nations combined, worth £107 million alone. “Due to the fallout they are facing from the COVID-19 lockdown and the impact it has had on domestic sales of beer, exports like those to the US will be crucial for Britain’s brewers as they start to recover their trade. “This is a positive signal of intent from the US for a good future trading relationship with UK brewers, enabling further growth for them in the US market. “We would like to thank the Department for International Trade for conveying the concerns of our sector to the US Trade Representative, who clearly listened to them.”

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  • No trade-off needed between pubs and schools 

    05 August 2020

    BBPA says Government is not considering national closure of pubs to reopen schools, and reiterates that social distancing measures in pubs means they are safe to remain open The British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today refuted claims that a trade-off is needed between pubs and schools, to enable schools to re-open in September. The trade association has said that the Government has made it clear it does not need to nationally close pubs to re-open schools, but that it may limit social contact in some parts of the country to enable schools to reopen. The British Beer & Pub Association has also reiterated the guidelines and mitigation measures pubs across the whole of the UK have put in place to keep staff and customers safe. Across the sector, pubs have invested significant work, time and money to ensure they provide a safe environment. No pub has been able to reopen without doing a rigorous risk assessment and implementing measures to keep customers and staff safe. This includes putting up screens, enhancing hygiene measures and offering table service. Pubs have also been commended by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock MP and Public Health England for their diligence and proactivity in working with NHS Track & Trace.   Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:  “There is no evidence of the efficacy of a trade-off between pubs and schools. The Government has made it clear it is not considering the national closure of pubs to reopen schools. It has said it may limit social contact in localities to enable schools to reopen. “It is important to remember that pubs have been open in England for a month now after investing significant work, time and money to ensure they are a safe environment. No pub can reopen without doing a risk assessment and implementing measures to ensure staff and customers are safe. Pubs have been commended by Matt Hancock and Public Health England for their diligence and proactivity in working with NHS Trace & Trace. “We are all working hard to restrict the transmission of the virus but careless talk and groundless speculation costs pubs and pub jobs. Our sector is desperately trying to recover and provide a much-needed hub for communities across the UK during these challenging times.”

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  • More than a third of pubs cannot break even one month after reopening

    04 August 2020

    British Beer & Pub Association calls for continued support for sector to ensure full recovery The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today revealed that over a third of pubs in the UK (37%) cannot break even one month after reopening. The finding, from a survey of the BBPA’s members, comes exactly a month after pubs in England reopened on July 4th for the first time after the COVID-19 lockdown. In the same survey, 25% of brewing and pub sector businesses said they didn’t feel their business was sustainable beyond the end of March 2021 at present. Pubs reopened on 4th July in England, followed by staggered openings elsewhere in the UK. Since reopening, pubs across the whole of the UK have had to implement mitigation measures and follow Government guidelines to ensure they keep customers and staff safe. This includes “one metre plus” social distancing in all pubs, as well as putting other measures in place such as table service, seating only, one way systems and dividing screens. The measures mean that pubs have less capacity to serve customers. Likewise, consumer confidence to go out and visit pubs is still returning. According to the BBPA, this is impacting the viability of reopened pubs, particularly in city centre locations, where many offices remain closed meaning even greater reduced footfall. The BBPA has welcomed initiatives such as the Eat Out To Help Out scheme and the VAT cut to food and accommodation in hospitality and pubs to help boost the sector, which it hopes will have a positive impact on pub sales in August. However, it says further support is still needed for the pub and brewing sector in the medium and longer term to enable them to fully recover. It also says the Government needs to play its part in helping build public confidence to go out and visit pubs and hospitality again, with consistent and positive messaging about their reopening. In particular, the trade association says more support is needed for community pubs who tend to only sell drinks or small food items, and so are less likely to benefit from VAT cuts to food and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. It says the Government should cut beer duty by 25%, cut VAT on beer served in pubs and fundamentally reform business rates to enable the beer and pub sector to fully recover and help grow the economy once more. According to the trade association, such measures would be needed to get pubs through this quieter period and into the new year.   Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:  “One month after they were able to reopen in England, over a third of pubs are struggling to break even or turn a profit. This is inevitably due to lower consumer confidence and reduced capacity for pubs. “We fully support the Eat Out To Help Out scheme and the temporary VAT cut to food and accommodation in pubs and hope they will help boost pub sales. “However, to ensure the full recovery of our sector, including Britain’s world class brewers and pubs at the heart of communities across the UK, we need the Government to increase its support. “£1 in every £3 spent in a pub goes to the taxman and now is the time to reinvest that money in our brewers and pubs. That means cutting beer duty by 25%, as well as making the VAT cut permanent and extending it to beer in pubs to bring the cost of a pint down and unlock investment. “Fundamental reform is also needed of the business rates system – pubs pay 2.8% of the business rates bill, despite accounting for just 0.5% of turnover. "Crucially, the Government must play a leading role in building public confidence to go out and visit pubs again, by delivering consistent and positive messages about their reopening. “Our sector is a resilient one, and 75% of brewing and pub businesses say they are sustainable at present, but that still leaves 25% that are struggling and it would be catastrophic for our culture and economy if they are denied the support they need. “Now is the time to recognise and invest in our pubs and brewers to secure them for future generations and to enable growth.”

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  • BBPA urges Government to keep £1 billion in grant scheme funding open to save pubs and jobs

    03 August 2020

    Trade association backs Local Government Association call for continued grant support for businesses damaged by lockdown The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today backed calls from the Local Government Association to ringfence £1 billion in grant funding that would otherwise be clawed back by Government, to continue to help support pubs and other businesses severely affected by the lockdown. According to the Local Government Association, the Government has written to councils to say it will shut three funding schemes – the Small Business Grants Fund, Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund and the Discretionary Grants Fund – on August 28th, with any unclaimed funds returning to the Government. It estimates that over £1 billion in grant scheme funding will be lost. The BBPA is therefore backing the Local Government Association’s call for Government to keep funding available so councils can redistribute any unspent resources to reinvest and support businesses and local economies through this crisis. Although pubs were allowed to reopen in England from the 4th of July, they have had to operate with severely reduced capacities and therefore income since then. According to the BBPA, such a measure would enable councils to continue supporting pubs and other businesses severely damaged by the lockdown, particularly those such as pubs with a rateable value above £51,000 who were not eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund.   Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Our sector may have reopened, but it is far from out the woods yet. Our pubs still need all the support they can get and many are still waiting on it, so withdrawing £1 billion in possible funding is short-sighted to say the least. “The Government should be focused on supporting business like pubs that can help the economies of local communities grow, not withdrawing vital funding at a time businesses across the UK need it most. “Some 10,000 pubs were unable to benefit from the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund as their business rates were too high. Rather than clawing back this money, it’s a no brainer to use it to help those businesses that have either fallen through the cracks or are continuing to struggle.”

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