Up to 12,000 late-night venues could finally reopen on 19 July, but 'Freedom Day' comes too late for thousands

15 July 2021 by
Up to 12,000 late-night venues could finally reopen on 19 July, but 'Freedom Day' comes too late for thousands

Nearly 12,000 late-night hospitality sites will finally be able to reopen next week on ‘Freedom Day', but CGA and AlixPartners state the industry has lost 25 hospitality venues per day since June 2020.

According to research from CGA and AlixPartners, 11,928 of Britain's licensed premises, mostly late-night venues, will be able to open on 19 July when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. While 89% of the UK's hospitality venues were open by the end of June, the late-night industry was still forced to remain closed.

Sports and social clubs will also benefit, having also been hard hit by social distancing requirements. Nearly one-third (31%) of large and late-night venues and more than one-fifth (23%) of sports and social clubs were still closed as of the end of June 2021.

But the Market Recovery Monitor reported that the industry has lost 25 venues per day over the last 12 months, with CGA saying further closures could be expected if the government doesn't continue its support. At the end of June 2021, the UK had around 106,000 licensed premises – more than 9,000 venues less than the total number of venues in June 2020, equating to an 8% contraction of the market in a year.

Karl Chessell, director of hospitality operators and food for EMEA at CGA, said: "After a hugely difficult 16 months for hospitality, and an unwelcome extra four-week delay until ‘freedom day', it will be a huge relief to see many more sites open. But with so many venues still closed and restrictions still in place, it will be a very anxious wait to see how many are able to reopen. Hospitality has already lost more than 9,000 sites during the Covid-19 crisis, and sustained government support is essential to prevent further damage."

Craig Rachel, AlixPartners' director, added: "While Freedom Day will be welcomed by many operators in the late-night market, it certainly does not signal the end of the challenges for those businesses and the wider sector. Operators face a summer of dealing with recruitment difficulties and staff absences due to self-isolation, combined with the tapering away of government support and tackling huge levels of debt. It promises to be a long road to recovery for hospitality."

Photo: Radyukov Dima/shutterstock.com

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