James Clarke, managing director of Hook Norton Brewery, offers his thoughts on the new tier restrictions coming into force from Wednesday, 2nd December.
Hook Norton managing director, James Clarke. Photograph: Hook Norton Brewery
The Tier system as outlined last week is simply incomprehensible. However, the first matter of huge concern is that if these regulations are voted through as is, it would be 31st March before they are subjected to Parliamentary scrutiny again. So four months where a few ministers decide what you can do, where you can go, and who you can meet. That is not democracy.
“The hospitality sector is on its knees. A lot of businesses will simply not recover. And with it come ridiculous conditions, such as in tier 2 having to have a substantial meal if you drink alcohol. Even if you meet in a group of six outside, if you want a beer, you have to have a substantial meal. But you can drink as much orange juice or coffee as you like, and not have to have a meal. Where on earth is the science behind this?
Twenty per cent of our pubs are unable to open, due to being in tier 3 Warwickshire. How on earth can a county go from tier 1 to tier 3? And in Tier 2, yes, they can open, but the conditions are such that it is simply unviable for many pubs.
A much improved level of financial support will be needed for pubs. The last small grants were almost exclusively absorbed by employer NI and pension contributions.
Less than 2% of infection transmission was traced back to pubs; they are part of the solution, not part of the problem. We hope that the government sees sense and listens to the views of the hospitality industry.