A bleak midwinter - pubs to serve five million fewer Christmas dinners this year

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

A bleak midwinter - pubs to serve five million fewer Christmas dinners this year

Related tags British beer & pub association Pub Christmas Coronavirus tier system lockdown

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) says it is expecting the quietest Christmas on record this year for pubs, as they struggle to remain open over festive period.

According to figures revealed yesterday (23 December) by the trade body, pubs are expected to serve 39 million fewer pints and five million fewer Christmas dinners between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day this year. 

Pubs across the UK have faced punishing tier restrictions since the lifting of the national lockdown in England at the beginning of December, with the vast majority forced to either remain closed or only open if they can serve a 'substantial meal' alongside alcohol. 

From Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, the BBPA forecasted that just 2.6 million pints and 830,000 Christmas dinners would be served in Britain’s pubs,

However, last weekend’s announcement regarding the introduction of further restrictions on household mixing across the whole of the UK over Christmas​ will likely dampen these figures further, with mass cancellations now almost inevitable.

On a normal Christmas, it would usually expect as many as 41 million pints and five million Christmas dinners to be served over the three day festive period.

The trade body says the stark figures show what impact the Government’s tier restrictions are having on pubs, strangling their ability to trade as viable businesses and survive. 

Wet-led pubs have been offered a meagre £1,000 one-off grant by the Government to help cover the costs incurred by the ongoing restrictions, but the BBPA has been pleading for more support.

"The current restrictions were devastating enough but now with the introduction of Tier 4 and a tightening of the rules over Christmas, consumer confidence will be hit further, leading to cancellations and greater financial woes for pubs and brewers," says Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA.

“As the heart of the community year-round, but especially at Christmas time, it is such a shame our pubs will be so quiet or closed this Christmas.

"After such a difficult and challenging year, we all deserve to make the most of the Christmas break with the chance to safely enjoy a drink with family and friends at our local. Especially as our pubs need all the support they can get right now.

“The Government has to recognise the damage that has been done, and do more to secure the future of pubs. That means grant support for pubs like those in Wales, which are as much as four times higher than for pubs in England facing similar restrictions.

"Failure by the Government to do this would be failing communities across the country whose local is vital to their wellbeing.”

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