Bartender fears coronavirus pub curfew could kill industry

22 September 2020, 13:19 | Updated: 22 September 2020, 13:26

By Seán Hickey

This caller told James O'Brien that many pubs do not have the capacity to survive under the government's new guidelines for the sector.

Tom in Hackney works in a bar and he told James O'Brien that the amended guidelines for the industry will hit his own workplace hard.

"Once we got past 11 and 12 o'clock on Fridays and Saturdays it was noticeably busier," he said, noting that "people are only just getting going" by those times.

Despite his observations, Tom told James he believed many would respect the new regulations.

"Of course you won't get everyone following the rules," he began, "but on the whole, there is a general respect for, if you're allowed do something, do it, if you're not, maybe we won't."

James agreed. "I don't see how you can hold up people breaking one rule as evidence of the efficacy of another rule," he said, referencing the argument that closing pubs early may result in people spending more time at house parties with little social distancing.

The caller noted that many bars don't have the capacity to operate on new rules
The caller noted that many bars don't have the capacity to operate on new rules. Picture: PA

However, Tom said "my worry is more the table service side of things, a lot of pubs are not set up in a way to do that."

"The pubs are going to be losing a lot of money"

James understood Tom's point: "A lot of pubs in cities aren't really big enough to sustain table service only and social distancing." He felt that under the new guidelines, "some pubs just won't be able to open."

The caller added that revenue for his workplace particularly dropped massively since the Eat Out to Help Out scheme ended.

"Ever since Eat Out to Help Out stopped it went from 100% of our tables ordering food to 5% of tables ordering food," he revealed, just going to show how the industry is already struggling.

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