Pubs and bars in Lancashire face closure as Coronavirus alert level raised

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs and bars in Lancashire face closure as Coronavirus alert level raised

Related tags Coronavirus lockdown Lancashire Pub

Pubs and bars across Lancashire will have to close from midnight tonight (17 October) as the region becomes the second in England to enter the highest Coronavirus alert level tier.

The move, which will affect towns such as Blackpool, Blackburn and Fleetwood, follows a series of meetings between Downing Street and local leaders who had been demanding the Government provide further financial support to help businesses impacted by the restrictions.

According to The Guardian​, the leaders 'reluctantly accepted' the restrictions in exchange for a support package worth £42m.

In Tier 3 areas - labelled ‘very high’ risk - the majority of pubs and bars will be ordered to close and social mixing between households will be banned indoors and outdoors.

However, restaurants and any pubs or bars that are able to 'operate as if they were a restaurant' and serve 'substantial' meals are allowed to remain open.

Until now, only businesses in the Liverpool City Region​ have faced the same restrictions.

Responding to the news, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) warned that the measures imposed on Lancashire will impact 12,000 pubs.

The trade association said a stronger package of financial support is vital not just for pubs, but also brewers and their wider supply chain in Lancashire if they are to survive the further severe trading restrictions or full closure they face.

“These additional tier three measures mean pubs in Lancashire can only remain open if they serve substantial meals, but with even more restrictions including no mixed household groups either inside or outside and only being allowed to serve alcohol with a substantial meal," says Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA.

"This will completely kill the business model of up to 400 pubs. The remaining 800 pubs who don’t serve substantial meals will be forced to close completely. The survival of all pubs in either of these categories is hanging dangerously in the balance.

“Countless jobs will be lost too if the Government doesn’t takes action. We are a people business – our staff and customers are everything – we are nothing without them. In Lancashire alone, 20,000 livelihoods are supported by these local pubs.

“Government must now do the right thing and provide our sector with a job retention scheme that will truly protect jobs."

Last week the Chancellor announced he would make a further wave of furlough support available, which will cover twothirds of workers’ wages up to £2,100, but this has been slammed​ by both industry voices and Conservative MPs for not going far enough.

The news comes as talks between Westminster and leaders in Greater Manchester failed to reach an agreement on moving the region in the 'very high' risk tier also.

Responding to the standoff between regional leaders and central Government, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said that ministers have the 'power to proceed' with Tier 3 restrictions in Manchester despite local opposition.

“We’ll keep talking, we’ll keep working,” he said.

“Obviously, in the last resort the Government has the powers to proceed in any event. But we’d much rather work with the local leaders if at all possible.”

Yesterday (15 October), Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he would not back plans to raise the region's Coronavirus alert level​ without a comprehensive package in place to help protect businesses.

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