The British Government Is Killing Restaurants and Pubs. Why?

colchicine israel A hospitality industry hit hard by coronavirus measures has been thrown under the bus once again. Restaurants and pubs may be closed again in parts of England, as the number of Covid cases rises.

New government-imposed restrictions

Ariana bassist englisch On Wednesday, restaurants and pubs in Scotland were prohibited from selling alcohol indoors. They were also forced to adopt limited opening hours, while venues in central Scotland were told to close altogether. A representative of the Scottish Hospitality Group said Nicola Sturgeon was ‘effectively signing a death sentence’ for many businesses.

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judge dredd bd bluely In England, the new 10 pm curfew and ‘rule of six’ have significantly impaired people’s ability to socialize. The obligation to wear masks when standing up in pubs and restaurants has added another level of sterility and unattractiveness to an already dampened atmosphere.  Along with social-distancing rules, which limit capacity, these measures make it harder for pubs and restaurants to turn a profit. The past few weeks have seen ever-increasing interference with people’s social lives on behalf of the government. Contrasting all this with August’s ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme produces a stark image. Just over a month ago, the government encouraged us to pile into restaurants and pubs to boost the economy. Now we are once again being discouraged from leaving our homes, whether to work or to socialize. It will be difficult for hospitality businesses to plan for the future amid such inconsistent policies.

Even before these latest announcements, the economic effects of lockdowns on the hospitality industry were coming to light. Major pub chains have sent out warnings about the plight of the industry. Young’s is laying off 500 staff members. Fuller’s has said 10 percent of its 5,000 employees may lose their jobs. The latter’s chief executive, Simon Emeny, characterized the 10 pm curfew as ‘illogical’ and ‘ill-conceived’, adding that the government’s new work-from-home advice has also impacted sales. And the largest pub operator in the UK, Greene King, has started a redundancy consultation with 800 employees, though it hopes to redeploy as many as possible.

Thousands of pubs will go out of business

A study commissioned by the pub industry has produced a grim vision. The study predicts that if lockdown measures persist deep into next year (as they may well do – Boris Johnson recently pledged to end social distancing by October 2021), a staggering 11,750 bars will shut down, costing nearly 300,000 jobs.

All this damage is being done despite the fact there is little clear connection between restaurants and pubs and major rises in Covid cases. As has been the case with most of the decisions the government has taken in recent months, the empirical basis for these latest measures is negligible, if it exists at all. For example, less than one percent of Greene King’s pubs have been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service since July, suggesting a real lack of cases originating in pubs. In fact, from July 29 to September 1, covering the whole Eat Out To Help Out scheme, when many venues were packed on evenings from Monday to Wednesday, the total number of Covid cases went up by only 2,704.

In light of this evidence, the government’s assault on socializing seems increasingly puritanical in nature. If these venues do not pose a major threat, why is the government restricting their activities even more? A prime minister who has been converted to the nanny state now appears to be rapidly increasing its power, and its moral authority to interfere in our lives.

Not to mention, these measures are being imposed on an industry that had already faced significant challenges before Covid. In the 10 years to 2017, nearly a fifth of all British pubs closed. They were unable to compete with supermarket booze prices on the one hand and bigger pub chains on the other – all while facing challenges like the smoking ban and Britain’s high taxes on alcohol. For many more pubs, the never-ending lockdown may be the final straw.

The government needs to change course and take action to protect what are undeniably some of our most vital social institutions. We will miss them when they are gone.

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