Government urge people not to go to their local bars, pubs and other leisure venues as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The Prime Minister announced yesterday that additional steps were necessary including that everyone should avoid gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres.
This news has been met with strong feeling from the leisure sector and licensed trade.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, commented:
“The severity of the COVID-19 crisis is now impacting on Pubs with devastating effect. The very existence of thousands of pubs and a lot more jobs is now at risk.
“The government needs to give clear instructions and detail on the support package to rescue the sector and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“Urgent measures to support cash flows and enable cost reductions is an absolute necessity. Government action now will save thousands of jobs and save our pubs.
“Support for pubs now is an investment in the long-term future of communities across the UK without it we risk losing our community assets forever.”
Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO, commented: “The hospitality sector is facing a unique short-term cashflow catastrophe as customers are advised to stay away. Government must support businesses of all sizes through this period so we can bounce back and continue to be at the heart of our communities.
“Business rates must be suspended immediately. Cash in the bank to continue to pay staff is the absolute priority for businesses. We also need extraordinary measures from Government to support our colleagues. There is likely to be a short-term fall in demand. Government should step in and cover wage costs so our staff can continue to look after themselves and so businesses will still be there to provide them with employment when the country gets back on its feet.”
Today (17 March) announced a series of measures to support the sector including.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak says there are concerns about the impacts on pubs, clubs and theatres.
"For those venues which do have a policy that covers pandemics - the government action is sufficient to allow them to make claims," he says.
For the smaller businesses in that sector who don't have insurance he says he will provide cash grants of £25,000 per business "to help bridge through this period".
He also says businesses in the sector will get a "business rates holiday".