Free Fall: Christmas Takings in Pubs, Bars, and Restaurants Plunge 80 Per Cent

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Christmas taking in bars, pubs, and restaurants have plunged by roughly 80 per cent during what would normally be a profitable time of year for the beleaguered hospitality sector.

The coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdown regulations have dealt a hammer blow to the industry, which has been subject to many more restrictions on contact and other behaviours than, for example, shops and hairdressers, or indeed schools.

Some of these have seemed at times to defy reason, such as requirements that, in venues which are allowed to remain open at all, patrons can only order a drink with a “substantial” meal, or that there is a mandatory a 10 p.m. closing time — which has seen people crowding onto the streets and public transport all at once.

With more English regions being moved into “tier three” and now “tier four” lockdowns, however, there has been no need to negotiate such labyrinthine regulations, with venues being shut down altogether. Food sales crashed by 64 per cent and drinks sales by a whopping 84 per cent for an overall fall of 79.4 per cent over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St Stephen’s Day, or Boxing Day, largely as a result of lockdown closures, according to reports.

This follows news that an estimated 650,000 hospitality jobs have been lost over the course of 2020, with pay also down — a far cry from the massive profits and rising incomes which firms like Amazon and the financial sector have enjoyed.

“The update on the virus and associated tier restrictions today is yet another blow to a sector already on its knees,” the Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), Emma McClarkin, said as the lockdown tightened earlier this month.

“It is clear that it is going to be the longest winter in living memory for Britain’s pubs and brewers,” she lamented.

“Unless there is a greater package of financial support from the Government to secure our pubs and the brewers that supply them, a wave of business failures in the New Year is inevitable.

“We desperately need the Prime Minister to step up to the plate and commit to an enhanced package of measure for pubs and brewers,” the industry chief pleaded.

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