The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has estimated that pubs are set to lose out on £5m in sales during England's quarter-final UEFA Euro 2020 knockout match against Ukraine on Saturday, with coronavirus restrictions meaning over 1.5 million fewer pints will be sold during the match.
The trade association said the boost to pubs from showing the Euros was being greatly restricted by ongoing restrictions still in place on the trade, including one-metre-plus social distancing, no standing, table service only and the rule of six.
According to the BBPA, some of its members have seen Saturday bookings cancelled in the run-up to the match. Members have also reported that beer sales are lower than they had hoped from the Euros games shown so far.
Recovery remains in the balance for the beer and pub sector, with many pubs across the country having to close or significantly reduce their opening hours due to staffing issues, caused by staff shortages and NHS Test & Trace ‘pings' resulting in staff having to isolate, despite testing negative for coronavirus on lateral flow tests.
The health secretary has confirmed a pilot is exploring the option of allowing those who are double vaccinated to skip the 10-day isolation if they test negative on a lateral flow test. However, the BBPA said this will not work for the pub sector because 43% of pub staff are aged 18-25 and are unlikely to have their second jab for months.
It is forecast that 19 million pints could be sold on Saturday, however if restrictions had been lifted already the trade body said this would have been nearer 24 million pints, showing the huge impact ongoing restrictions are having on the viability of the sector.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "Restrictions on pubs are continuing to bite and because of this, any boost pubs had hoped for from the Euros has been greatly weakened.
"We expect pubs to sell 1.5 million fewer pints during the match because of the restrictions. Pubs will lose out on £5m from that alone, which could be the difference to survival or closure for some…
"Looking ahead, NHS Test & Trace is becoming a huge issue for our pubs. Already pubs are closing or greatly reducing their opening hours due to staff shortages caused by app pings – despite staff testing negative on lateral flow tests.
"Reports that anyone with both jabs will not have to isolate from a NHS Test & Trace ping so long as they test negative on a lateral flow test will not work for our sector. Forty-three per cent of pubs staff are aged 18-25, meaning they are at the back of the queue for vaccines and will not have their second jab for months. We urge the government to work with us to find a sensible solution to this that still ensures staff and customer safety."
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