Quarter of UK Licensed Premises Still have Not Opened
Between the lifting on restrictions on bars and pubs opening in early July and the end of August, almost a quarter (13.7 per cent) of licensed establishments have yet to reopen, a market recovery monitor has reported.
Over 15,500 venues have opened over August, according to the CGA’s Market Recovery Monitor, which leaves nearly 27,000 establishments that have remained closed since the lockdown in March.
This included a disproportionate number of bars (21.8 per cent of the total), and sports/social clubs (46.2 per cent), as social distancing and licensing law awareness has made opening these particular venue types more restrictive than other venues that have been more actively aided by government schemes such as food pubs.
The phased reopening of licensed venues since July has been a mixed blessing for a sector that has been significantly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and there is the potential for more uncertainty on the horizon.
The Impact of Eat Out to Help Out
Rishi Sunak’s restaurant subsidy, known by the catchy name “Eat Out to Help Out”, seemed to have a positive event whilst the scheme was in place. The scheme, which allowed diners to save up to £10 on their meal on the government, helped licensed establishments that served food significantly during this period.
The vast majority of food pubs (94 per cent) opened between July and the end of August, however, some smaller restaurants have reported that since the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme had a delay between providing the discount and receiving the reimbursement, disincentivising them to open and shoulder the risk.
With the scheme ending on 31st August, there is quite a bit of uncertainty as to whether the scheme will lead to a continued upswing of eager diners or if it was a temporary respite.
Pubs and restaurants reopened in July, but it certainly did not return to normal. The customer base that emerged from four months of lockdown is a somewhat different demographic than the group that went in. They have spent that time working remotely, relying on delivery services and being generally more cautious when it comes to the time spent in public.
To help build up this audience being as conscientious and courteous to the new needs of the new normal is vital. Make sure the rules for your establishment are readily visible, easy to read and politely enforced.
Not only will this help protect your staff, it will also help boost the confidence of your customers and encourage them to come back.
Potential Future Challenges
Right now the service industry as a whole is facing a raft of uncertainty as a result of the present post-lockdown circumstances. Local lockdowns have affected several major cities, which has a knock-on effect on people socialising in these areas.
It remains to be seen how the recently enacted “rule of six” (a law that states no more than six people can meet together) will change socialising habits, as well as any other developments during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Contact Learning Plus today to find out more on how we can assist with CIEH licensing law awareness.