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Your Favourite Pub Won’t Survive The Covid Winter

Liz Hind
·2-min read

To try and stave off a Tory revolt, Boris Johnson announced this week a £1,000 Christmas grant for wet-led pubs to try and show that he understands the effect of restrictions on businesses.

But instead of being thankful, publicans like me have reacted with anger. The paltry amount, the timing and the resentment at the way we have been vilified during the pandemic means we’ve taken the “gesture” as an insult, not a sign of caring.

Measures to control this virus are clearly needed, but we should be asking whether restricting what people do in pubs is even effective. The government’s published scientific advice on pubs references a Korean nightclub, and spread traced to gyms – hardly the most pertinent examples.

Publicans running venues where people behave have a right to feel annoyed. The stipulation that punters must now have a substantial meal with their drinks is there because law makers think people are better behaved after food. I could tell them that an idiot is still an idiot even if they are full of pie and chips.

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Customers enjoy their drinks next to a Christmas tree at the Chainlocker pub on December 2, 2020 in Falmouth, United Kingdom
Customers enjoy their drinks next to a Christmas tree at the Chainlocker pub on December 2, 2020 in Falmouth, United Kingdom

For me, this measly Christmas grant has come as far too little, too late. I had to decide whether to open before the tiers were announced because I had to order beer. The extra money makes no difference to me, just as the extension of furlough made no difference to those already made redundant.

Now we head towards Christmas knowing the hardship is set to continue. Our trade in December will be hit hard, not just because of forced restrictions, but because people will have to choose between family, or going out over the festivities. It’s a double blow as we’re going to lose out on Christmas trade, and if there is a new year spike, we’re going to have...

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