It’s unsurprising that a Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) survey has found that a majority of visitors consider pubs to be a covid-secure environment.
What’s of more concern is whether the government will take any notice of these findings, and evidence that proves pubs are safe, well-regulated environments, once the lockdown period comes to its scheduled end on 2nd December.
Many pubs have invested thousands of pounds to utilise new technologies to introduce track and trace, table service, screening, new sanitation stations, and deep cleans.
CAMRA has consistently called on the government to offer evidence into virus transmissions within the pub setting and is asking ministers to publish the evidence on which decisions are being taken about what the tier system in England will look like after lockdown ends.
The campaign has also called on the Scottish government to re-examine strict restrictions on pubs as part of its five-tier system.
The consumer group now wants the UK government to adapt the tier system in England to allow all pubs to open on 3rd December — regardless of whether they serve food or not — so that consumers can enjoy the personal wellbeing benefits of pub-going over the Christmas season.
CAMRA chairman, Nik Antona, said: “Businesses should be allowed to open based on whether they can provide a covid-secure environment — not based on whether they serve food. Publicans have invested thousands to keep their customers safe this year and comply with additional regulations and track and trace requirements, and this research shows that customers recognise this too.
“We are particularly concerned that wet-led pubs have been hit by forced closure in tier 3 areas, even before lockdown, and have been left out from the VAT reductions that only apply to food and non-alcoholic drinks, despite needing support just as much as other hospitality venues. It’s vital that they are given the chance to trade after lockdown ends.
“The government also need to properly review curfew, which Sage scientists advise has a marginal effect on suppressing the virus, and there are concerns that it leads to mingling in non-covid-safe environments, such as people’s homes. With no evidence to suggest that curfews work, we believe the initiative should be scrapped — especially from the lower tier levels — when lockdown ends.“
He added: “For a long time, CAMRA has championed community pubs as the home of responsible drinking. This Christmas, we believe pubs should be the covid-safe home to enjoy a pint.”