SIBA calls for continued support in latest lockdown exit strategy

The hospitality sector and its suppliers welcome the “roadmap out of lockdown” but seek continued and direct support from Government to ensure jobs and businesses are preserved.

In response to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement on Sunday, James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), said: “The Prime Minister’s statement this evening gave us a starting point and a methodology for how we will come out of lockdown.

"We need to see the detail of which sectors are included within ‘step 3’ but at this stage it looks like pubs and taprooms will follow restaurants, cinemas and cafes in July but if and only if we maintain control of the virus. That may mean that the partial awakening of our sector is still at least eight to 12 weeks away.

Whilst we thank the Prime Minister for recognising our sector directly in both his speech and in Government social media, eight to 12 weeks is still a huge amount of time. In that intervening period our sector requires continued direct support from Government to ensure that the one million jobs in pubs, brewing and supply chain are preserved.”

“This is a marathon, not a sprint and we continue to be at the core of discussions with Government about how our heritage, our culture and our right to have a good pint in a good pub is maintained for the long term.

"We will of course not put any pressure on Government to open pubs and taprooms ahead of when it is safe to do so. But we will put pressure where it is needed to ensure our sector has a fighting chance of survival.”

Peter Briffett, chief executive of income streaming provider, Wagestream, which supports thousands of hospitality sector staff, said: “The short version of his national address is that we aren’t going to see a return to normal life any time soon.

"It will be almost impossible for the country’s pubs, bars, restaurants and other leisure businesses to imagine what world will await them when they are finally allowed to open again.

“The Government will have to pay careful attention to what state support is required to stop one of the country’s most vibrant sectors entering an ice age.”

Related articles: