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Fate of 1,200 pubs 'hangs in the balance' as Lancashire enters Tier 3

16 October 2020 by
Fate of 1,200 pubs 'hangs in the balance' as Lancashire enters Tier 3

Wet-led pubs and bars in Lancashire will close from Saturday as the region moves into Tier 3, the highest level of coronavirus restrictions.

This means people in areas such as Blackpool, Preston and Chorley will be unable to socialise with anyone outside their household in any indoor setting.

Restaurants are able to remain open, but pubs, bars and licensed clubs must shut unless they are serving ‘substantial meals'.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said restrictions will "completely kill the business model" of 400 pubs, while around 800 that don't offer food will "have to close completely".

People are also advised to avoid mixing with others at ‘outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events'.

The government announced it will provide a £12m support package to the local authority during the lockdown, though local leaders later said the figure was £42m.

It is also setting up a ‘ministerial-led taskforce' with additional funding to help businesses recover ‘over the coming six months'.

But a statement from the Department of Health and Social Care said the measures will be reviewed ‘every 14 days'.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: "An unrelenting rise in cases in Lancashire means we must act now, and we have worked intensively with local leaders to agree on additional restrictions."

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said the survival of all pubs in the area was "dangerously hanging in the balance" without greater government support.

She said: "We are a people business – our staff and customers are everything – we are nothing without them. In Lancashire alone, 20,000 livelihoods are supported by these local pubs.

"Government must now do the right thing and provide our sector with a job retention scheme that will truly protect jobs.

"We also need urgent clarity on cash grants that must properly cover the lost revenue and high fixed costs these pubs face. The government's current grants – as low as £325 per week for many pubs – are simply not enough. Grant support given to them needs to be in line with the vastly bigger funds available in Scotland and Northern Ireland."

Casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers, betting shops and soft play areas must also close in Lancashire from 19 October.

Liverpool City Region is currently the only other area subject to Tier 3 restrictions. The local authority has launched its own emergency fund for the hospitality and tourism industry after warning government support schemes did not go far enough to help businesses.

Leaders in Greater Manchester are currently locked in a bitter political row with Westminster over the possibility of the region being put into Tier 3, and are demanding greater financial support for the area.

Image sourced from Shutterstock

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