Most UK pubs will be unable to open under proposals to allow outdoor trading to resume in April, the industry’s trade association has warned.
The British Beer & Pub Association today said 29,000 UK pubs will still remain closed if outdoor service resumes in April as they do not have big enough beer gardens to reopen without using indoor space.
That amounts to 60 per cent of all UK pubs being unable to reopen.
The figures were published following reports that suggest outdoor service could be permitted in hospitality venues from April.
The BBPA said pubs should be allowed to reopen fully when non-essential retailers are given the go ahead to resume trading.
Around 75 per cent of UK pubs have outdoor space, but only 40 per cent are likely to have access to a big enough beer garden to rely solely on al fresco trading.
The association warned that even those pubs with large outdoor spaces would struggle to break even with reduced capacity and practical challenges such as April weather to contend with.
If pubs did resume outdoor business in April, just 17 per cent of UK capacity would be open for trading, resulting in a loss of £1.5bn when compared to pre-Covid times.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: ““Let us be clear, outdoor service at pubs is not the same as properly opening pubs both inside and outside and is not commercially viable.”
She added: “We urge the Government to open our pubs inside – and outside – when non-essential retail also opens.
“By then, the vaccine will have been rolled out to millions more, and pubs can open whilst continuing to follow exemplary hygiene measures, world leading standards in guidance and social distancing.
“Until then, the Government must do all it can to support our sector until it opens to trade properly in the upcoming Budget.”