Pub association boss warns 100k jobs "on the wire" if government won't set opening date

20 June 2020, 09:29

By Seán Hickey

The government must give the pub industry a set date of when they can reopen, and open under one metre distancing.

Emma McClarkin is the Chief Executive of The British Beer & Pub Association and she spoke to Andrew Castle after the announcement on Friday that pub beer gardens could be patrolled by the police to ensure social distancing is adhered to.

She turned the tables on the government and insisted that businesses need to know when they will be allowed reopen so they can prepare sufficiently. "We want to open with the confidence of the government and it would just be lovely if they could just confirm a date" Ms McClarkin said.

"We're really disappointed actually that the PM hasn't given us more clarity by confirming the date that we're going to open particularly because yesterday we moved to Covid alert level three and we really hoped that we'd hear some positive news.

"I hope that we do hear a positive way forward for the sector who've been waiting, waiting patiently, playing our part in the fight against coronavirus but our businesses are at the absolute wire in terms of their survivability we need to find a way back as soon as possible."

The Pub Association chief told Andrew that "we need them to be given the opportunity to survive" and warned that "100,000 jobs will be at risk if we don't get a reopening date."

The Beer and Pub Association chief warned of job losses if the government doesn't give clarity on reopening dates
The Beer and Pub Association chief warned of job losses if the government doesn't give clarity on reopening dates. Picture: PA

Ms McClarkin scoffed at the plans for police to monitor pub beer gardens, telling Andrew that "patrolling is a step too far, I mean, managing people is what we do."

"There is far more going on that needs their attention" she said. Andrew finally asked about the planned reduction of the two metre rule, which is set to be revised next week.

"We're really hopeful that the Prime Minister will recognise that a reopening of an economy really needs to be more than one third" she said, after revealing that only 33% of establishments can reopen under the current two metre rules, which is risking thousands of jobs.

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