The chief executive of Greene King has slammed the government’s new Covid tier system as “lockdown in all but name”.
Nick Mackenzie said that as a result of the changes to restrictions, 99 per cent of the country’s pubs will be placed in tiers two and three, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.
The move “places the future of British pubs in even greater doubt for the years ahead”, the FTSE 250 boss said.
“Out of more than 2,300 pubs in England, we will have just six in tier one areas, with pubs in tier three closed and pubs in tier two unlikely to be profitable”, he said.
Under the new rules, pubs in tier two can only serve drinks to those having a “substantial meal”, while those in tier three must remain shut.
In addition, over the Christmas period, extended support bubbles of three households will be banned from going to pubs and hospitality venues.
Trade association UK Hospitality warned that if the restrictions were to stay in place for the whole of December, £7.8bn worth of trading will be wiped off the industry.
Chief executive Katie Nicholls said: “The new tiers will see over 120,000 venues across England placed into Tier 2, with tens of thousands of these forced to close as they are unable to provide a table meal, either physically or financially.
“This affects the employment of nearly 1.5m people. Under this severe a restriction, 94 per cent of our members say they will be unviable or trading at a loss.
“For the 38,000 businesses in Tier 3, employing over 540,000 there is no option but to provide takeaway or close altogether.”
She joined the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) in calling for extra support for the industry, with four in five UK pubs to feel the “devastating impact” of the restrictions.
The BBPA was one of over 50 pubs and brewers who last night wrote to Boris Johnson in protest at the “scapegoating” of the pub sector.
Following today’s announcement, chief exec Emma McClarkin said: “We need the Government to recognise the impact of these restrictions and urgently provide more financial support.
“We cannot overstate how serious the situation is currently facing our staff, communities and businesses. The future of hundreds of breweries, thousands of pubs and tens-of-thousands of jobs hangs in the balance.”
Ralph Findlay, the boss of brewing group Marston’s backed her calls, saying: “In early July, we were credited for having opened safely and responsibly.
“Since the end of September, the UK Government has leaked, launched, and layered a labyrinth of legislation on pubs, and pubgoers and our employees are paying a heavy price. This latest plan smacks of the fog of politics, and the Prime Minister has lost his way.”