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The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) has welcomed the announcement today from the First Minister that Scotland will move ‘beyond level 0’ from Monday (9 Aug). The removal of most restrictions means that over 200 pubs which had remained closed due to restrictions, will now be able to open their doors to customers again. The trade association, however, warned that there was a ‘range of pressing challenges’ still impacting the sector and that Government support would be crucial in the recovery phase. 285 Scottish pubs are estimated to have closed down since the start of the pandemic and not expected to reopen. Commenting, CEO of the SBPA Emma McClarkin said: “This is the confirmation that so many in our sector have been desperate to hear. It is fantastic news for our pubs which have suffered more than most sectors over the last 15 months. Over 200 Scottish pubs will now be able to reopen their doors for the first-time from next Monday. “Only from Monday can the recovery of our sector begin as we look to progress towards rebuilding, paying off accrued debts and welcoming customers fully once more. It is estimated that Scotland has lost 285 pubs for good since the start of the pandemic and hundreds more remaining at risk, with a need to reduce the tax and regulatory burden that they face. Consumer confidence also remains fragile, meaning it is vital that we get the recovery phase right. The ongoing requirement for face coverings and collection of customer contact information will have a small impact which must be recognised by Government. “Our businesses are faced with a range of pressing challenges, including staffing issues and supply chain pressures which will require the Government to continue to work closely with us to support recovery. With the correct support, the sector can be at the forefront of Scotland’s economic recovery, creating jobs and reviving our towns and cities.”
The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) has said that over 200 pubs in Scotland could reopen for the first time on 9th August, if restrictions are lifted enabling pubs to trade viably again. According to the SBPA though, an estimated 285 pubs in Scotland have sadly closed their doors for good since the start of the pandemic and will not reopen.The Scottish Government is expected to confirm a removal of restrictions from 9 August and announce baseline measures next week.The SBPA has held recent meetings with the Scottish Government and Ministers to highlight key restrictions that need to be removed in pubs to make trade viable, whilst keeping customers safe. Key for the nation’s pubs is the removal of table-only service and an end to the midnight curfew, which the SBPA says must be removed if Scottish pubs are to trade viably once more. According to the industry, if these restrictions on pubs are removed, they can work with the Scottish Government on other baseline measures so long as they are workable and maintain business viability.Commenting, SBPA CEO Emma McClarkin said: “It is vital for our hospitality industry and pubs that key restrictions are removed. Scotland is estimated to have lost 285 pubs since the start of the pandemic, but a further 200 plus pubs could reopen on the 9th of August if enough restrictions are removed. “We have been pushing the government strongly on this, particularly the need to end the curfew on trading hours which has meant late-night premises are unable to open, and the end of table-only service – which has been devastating to many of our smaller establishments. “Removing these restrictions is key to our pubs’ viability. If these restrictions are removed, we can work with the Scottish Government on other baseline restrictions so long as they are workable and enable business viability. “If heavy restrictions remain in place beyond the baseline that make pubs unviable, then pubs could be at risk of closing for good. “It is crucial the Scottish Government get this right and align us closely as possible to the other nations of the UK to ensure our recovery is not outpaced and we lose out on investment. We stand ready to work with the Scottish Government to get this right. “The pandemic has been devastating to the trade but with the right of support from Government, we can bounce back to become a powerhouse of the economy once again. If that support falls short though, we’ll see more business failures on top of the 285 pubs already lost.”
[embed]https://ibb.co/HX9v5sH[/embed] On the day of hospitality reopening in Scotland, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) are requesting that changes are made to the levels route map. Changes can be justified by positive progress continuing to be made and the sector demonstrating its ability to trade safely and responsibly. The industry is asking for the extension of opening hours back to normal licensing times, which at the moment is not scheduled to be reintroduced until Level 0. The SBPA says that the current arrangement means that many pubs won’t be viable given the restricted trading hours- risking business failures just as the recovery period should be starting. Making the request, SBPA President Edith Monfries said: “It is fantastic to see Scotland’s pubs and bars reopening again today. Teams coming back and reconnecting with customers and communities is an important first step, and everyone is excited to get going again. “For many premises the ongoing restrictions mean they still cannot open and even for those who are opening their doors again today, the restrictions make a return to profitability difficult and many will operate at a deficit until further progress through the levels. “We completely understand and appreciate the cautious approach being adopted by Government in seeking to limit the spread of the virus, and so do the businesses we represent. They have invested, taken on debt and worked tirelessly to ensure their businesses are safe places for customers and staff to return to and take seriously their responsibilities. “On top of today’s reopening, the current decline in prevalence of the virus coupled with the vaccination roll-out give reasons to be optimistic. That is why we are requesting that if we continue to see positive progress and if there are no major hospitality related incidents, that the Government consider allowing a return to licensing hours. “Unfortunately, the maintenance of the curfew severely limits profitable hours and for many of Scotland licensed premises, it could be the difference between survival and bankruptcy. “Removing the curfew restrictions in time for 17 May would provide an enormous boost to the whole licensed trade and deliver renewed confidence in the sector, which would be hugely welcomed by everyone in the trade. Let us show we are safe, and then let us trade viably so we can kickstart Scotland’s recovery together.” [embed]https://twitter.com/i/status/1386692106098458625[/embed]