UK boozers want clarity from government over social distancing
As uncertainty grows over the future of the UK pubs when emerging from lockdown, bosses are demanding an opening date from the government by this Friday, 19 June. With pubs reportedly haemorrhaging over £100 million a week, the industry, like restaurants, is seeking both assurance that it will be able to re-open and clear guidelines on exactly how that can happen.
Up to now, pubs have been waiting for 4 July, the date on which some restaurants and therefore, some pubs, expect to be able to reopen. That date has always been compromised by the government’s caveats that "venues that are crowded by design," will have to wait longer to reopen, either when social distancing rules are relaxed, or when UK coronavirus cases are sufficiently low that the risk presented to both staff and drinkers is minimal. Neither of these things have happened yet.
The situation for pubs is made worse by the fact that in order to reopen they need fresh beer. The time required to brew, package, deliver, and, where relevant condition beer means that a lead time of around three weeks is essential for pubs to reopen without shortages. The lack of a firm opening date, alongside the still unconfirmed 4 July, means that some breweries are already brewing in preparation for a reopening that may never happen.
And in other news...
- An unprecedented outdoor dining scheme could transform the West End throughout summer.
- A committee of MPs has told the government that it must include service charges in furlough calculations for restaurant staff. Doing so could have implications for wage law in the UK.
- Bakery chain Greggs has reopened 800 restaurants in the UK, but says "a proportion" Of its 25,000 staff will remain on furlough until sales return to what it considers to be normal levels. The furlough scheme will require an employer contributions from August. [Guardian]
- A Welsh chicken production facility has shut down with 13 cases of coronavirus. Meat factories and production facilities have become hotspots for the pandemic in the US. [New Food Magazine]
- Good tweet:
Susan, it’s an aubergine recipe.— nigel slater (@NigelSlater) June 17, 2020