CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has called on governments to adapt the tier systems to let all pubs trade in December, after new YouGov research finds that the majority of pub-goers believe that pubs and other hospitality venues offer a COVID-secure environment.
The survey, conducted on the behalf of CAMRA, found that 82% of GB adults who have been to the pub at least once in the last 6 months felt hospitality businesses were COVID-secure environments, reflecting the huge investment many pubs have made to re-open during the pandemic.
Many pubs have invested thousands to utilise new technologies to introduce track and trace, table service, flexi glass screening, new sanitation stations and deep cleans. CAMRA has consistently called on government to offer evidence into virus transmissions within the pub setting and is asking ministers to publish the evidence on which decisions are being taken about what the tier system in England will look like after lockdown ends on 2nd December.
The Campaign has also called on the Scottish Government to re-examine strict restrictions on pubs as part of its 5 tier system.
The consumer group now wants the UK Government to adapt the tier system in England to allow all pubs to open on the 3rd December – regardless of whether they serve food or not – so that consumers can enjoy the personal wellbeing benefits of pub-going over the Christmas season.
CAMRA’s National Chairman Nik Antona said:
“Businesses should be allowed to open based on whether they can provide a COVID-secure environment – not based on whether they serve food. Publicans have invested thousands to keep their customers safe this year and comply with additional regulations and track and trace requirements, and this research shows that customers recognise this too.
“We are particularly concerned that wet-led pubs have been hit by forced closure in Tier 3 areas even before lockdown and have been left out from the VAT reductions that only apply to food and non-alcoholic drinks, despite needing support just as much as other hospitality venues. It’s vital that they are given the chance to trade after lockdown ends.
“The Government also need to properly review curfew, which SAGE scientists advise has a marginal effect on suppressing the virus and there are concerns that it leads to mingling in non-COVID-safe environments, such as people’s homes. With no evidence to suggest that curfews work, we believe the initiative should be scrapped – especially from the lower Tier levels when lockdown ends.“
“For a long time, CAMRA has championed community pubs as the home of responsible drinking. This Christmas, we believe pubs should be the COVID-safe home to enjoy a pint.”