It is bad news that the pubs in Lancashire and Merseyside have been forcibly closed, even though similar businesses like restaurants are allowed to stay open. This is despite the fact that pub licensees have done everything asked of them to make their venues COVID-secure. It feels as though pubs are being made a scapegoat for the pandemic.
In my last job, some colleagues used to be amazed that I would go out at weekends into Southport town centre or, on occasion, into Liverpool. 'You'd never catch me doing that,' they'd say. They seemed to think the town centre at weekends was like something out of an old Wild West movie. I wasted my breath stating that I always felt safe and rarely saw any trouble much beyond an occasional argument.
I feel that such misconceptions have made pubs and bars easy targets for government measures that are intended more to make a point to the populace than to control the virus. The leader of Pendle council said as much to the government official with whom he was discussing Tier 3 restrictions: the official agreed.
In other words, it looks as though pubs have been closed to teach us a lesson: CAMRA and other organisations have asked for the evidence that pubs are the cause of spreading the infection, but to date have received no reply.
CAMRA Chief Executive Tom Stainer said: “Even if pubs serving food can stay open, the restrictions will see an even bigger reduction in footfall and trade, making businesses unviable. The Government urgently needs to increase the financial support available to all pubs to help them pay staff wages, meet fixed costs and to make up for lost business.
“We also need a long-term support package for the beer and pubs industry covering not just the period of the Tier 3 restrictions, but also the weeks and months that follow as pubs and breweries try to get back on their feet.
is a real sink or swim moment for local pubs and the breweries that
serve them – without proper support, we risk thousands of local businesses that are now under
additional restrictions not surviving beyond Christmas.”
► This is one of a series of articles that I write for the CAMRA column in our local papers, the Southport Visiter and Ormskirk Advertiser. Older articles on local pubs are here.