Beer industry boss warns 15,000 pubs could close due to coronavirus

7 May 2020, 09:31

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Government must lay out a path for pubs to reopen or 15,000 could shut due to the coronavirus lockdown, an industry chief has told LBC.

Emma McClarkin the CEO of the British Beer & Pub Association told LBC's Nick Ferrari the outlook was "bad" for pubs with the risk "extraordinarily real" due to the coronavirus shutdown.

The news comes after a survey of more than 120 senior executives for pub, bar and restaurant companies revealed that 32 per cent said they anticipated the need to shutter sites for good.

"Pubs will close, and they will close for good" without support from the Government or are shown a "pathway bac to reopening."

Read more: Coronavirus lockdown easing - What will change straight away?

The warning comes ahead of the Government announcement on lockdown measures being eased
The warning comes ahead of the Government announcement on lockdown measures being eased. Picture: PA

She said the choices were clear "if you want your pub, you need to press the Government with us to get the support that we need to see us through."

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Pubs across the country closed their doors on Friday, March 20, with drinkers enjoying a final pint after Boris Johnson announced the Government would require all pubs, clubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and sports centres to close.    

The beer industry boss said pubs would not be able to operate with current social distancing guidelines "at two meters, as it currently is, would be impossible in most of our venues," she told LBC.

The reality is, we, of course, want to play our part in the fight against coronavirus, and we have, we've closed out businesses and they're in the deep freeze," but she warned, "they won't be able to remain there for much longer without more Government support or a pathway back to more safe socialising."

When it comes to the number of people employed in the beer and pub sector Emma said it contributes £23 billion with almost 1 million staff.

The stark warning the beer industry leader gave was that 15,000 pubs could close.

She said pubs contribute "so much more than just as an economic player" but that they were at the centre of communities, and contribute to the "social values of their communities."