Britain’s 45,000 pubs expect to serve 3 million pints on Monday as lockdown restrictions ease again – but will still be unprofitable until the country is fully opened up.
The next step of the roadmap back to normal life happens on May 17, and will see bars and restaurants finally able to serve customers indoors.
But there will still be restrictions to service, which include social distancing of at least one metre, table service only and face masks anywhere other than when sitting.
It means the pints leaning against the bar are still out and will force drinking venues to operate at just 80 per cent capacity.
The British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, said it estimates beer sales for Monday will be 65% – some 1.6 million pints – lower than a normal Monday pre-pandemic.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the BBPA, said: ‘After some questionable weather during the last week or so, we know Brits are looking forward to being back inside the pub once more.
‘Our pubs have been preparing for this Monday over the last couple of months. We expect 45,000 pubs to open across the UK and 3 million pints to be served on Monday alone.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the BBPA, wants the government to commit to reopen
Greene King chief executive Nick MacKenzie says pubs will only be breaking even until June 21
Indoor drinking is back from Monday after a torrid few weeks outdoors in wet and cold weather
‘However, that is 1.6 million pints less than what they would have sold on a typical Monday before the pandemic. This is because 2,000 pubs will still remain closed and pubs that do open are limited in their sales by table service and no standing drinking.’
The BBPA has estimated that some 2,000 pubs, 5% of all the pubs in the UK, will still remain closed despite indoor reopening.
It wants the Government to commit to June 21 to lift all restrictions, including removal of social distancing and allowing vertical drinking and bar service to resume.
It came as as the Nick Mackenzie, the chief executive of pub giant Greene King, warned pubs would not become profitable until full restrictions were lifted.
He told Radio 4: ‘I think the last few weeks with the teams have been extremely difficult with the weather
‘We have only had a small number of our pubs open so we have been taking some money and we have been glad to have customers back but it has been pretty tough so Monday’s really important.
Scenes like these are going to be a welcome sight as indoor hospitality finally comes back
Previously cold and wet drinking and dining was the norm under the government restrictions
‘We are going to have nearly 2,500 of our pubs back open again and hopefully we will get some good responses from customer.
‘It has been great so far and it has been great to have all those customers coming back and having a good time but next week is really important for us and the next step of us rebuilding our business and rebuilding the sector actually
‘We won’t be profitable, we know that from last time with the restrictions that we will have on Monday and June 21 becomes really key to us about lifting all restrictions.
‘With the social distancing restrictions obviously people cannot stand and drink at the bar, it does restrict capacity so you are at about 80 per cent capacity with the restrictions in place we will have on Monday
‘From a profitability perspective that is difficult as well. Most businesses will be at about break even and what we need to get back to is profitability so we can start to invest in our business again and start creating jobs again.
‘It has been challenging in our city centres and I think London has been worst hit. It’s been a triple-whammy for them, they’ve lost tourists, they’ve lost workers coming back into the city centres as well and the general restrictions on people coming out, so it’s been much harder for city centres.
‘We are calling for local government and national government to try and incentivise people to come back.’
Covid has cost pub and restaurant owners £40,000 each on average in lost earnings, according to a study of businesses in the food and drink industry by small business insurer Simply Business.
This is more than double the amount that the average small business has lost so far during Covid-19 (£15,673) – demonstrating the scale of the impact on an industry which has been particularly affected by the various lockdowns and restrictions of the past year.
What’s more, despite the reopening, owners expect losses to continue – with Covid-19 set to cost them £45,470 each in total on average.
Emma Taylor, owner of Jack’s bar and grill in Stockport, ‘We are both excited and anxious to open on Monday. Unlike many others we’ve had no outdoor space so this is our first opening in months.
‘I’m worried the public will expect our staff to be back to their old selves with full confidence straight away. Naturally, it will take a couple of days for us to iron out some cracks. But I can’t wait to welcome customers through the door! Not just for the cash flow, just for some normality.’
Dobrina Nikolova, owner of Dobby’s food, a Bulgarian restaurant in Chatham, Kent, added: ‘I know there will be a lot of interest from customers but I’m a bit nervous about it as I’ve stayed at home for so long.
‘I believe we naturally got out of the routine we were used to before the pandemic. We need time to get in full working mode again. But it is exciting that we finally get to open! I’m happy that I will see my staff, my customers.
‘It is nice to start doing the thing that defines me. As a restaurant owner, I was in my establishment for 20 hours a day, 6 days a week, it is something that I give all my heart to!’