‘Wet led’ pubs banned from opening face ruin

Jonathan Prynn
·1-min read
<p>Uncertain future: pubs that makes their money from alcohol only face troubled times</p> (Getty Images)

Uncertain future: pubs that makes their money from alcohol only face troubled times

(Getty Images)

Hundreds of London pubs face ruin because they will not be able to open for Christmas under the Tier system that will replace the lockdown that ends next Wednesday.

“Wet led” pubs that make most of their income from drink — thought to be the majority of those in West End and the City — would be banned from reopening under Tier 2 restrictions.

Only venues that serve alcohol with “substantial meals” would be allowed to accept customers again. If London is placed in Tier 3, all pubs and restaurants will stay shut except for takeaways.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “How can it be that pubs cannot properly open while households can mix in private settings? The government data has consistently shown that house-to-house transmission is one of the highest, whereas hospitality has accounted for as little as two per cent of covid incidences when open.”

Some operators were today seeking guidance on the definition of a “substantial meal” before deciding whether they will reopen. Simon Thomas, chief executive of the Hippodrome casino on Leicester Square, said: “We’ve got eight bars at the Hippodrome alongside three casino floors, and some clarity as to whether our customers can have a drink while they play would be helpful.”

The Government is due to reveal tomorrow which Tier London will be in. Des Gunewardena, chief executive of the D&D London fine dining group, said Tier 3 would be “totally ridiculous”, adding: “The big thing going into the New Year is getting support and compensation for all the losses incurred.”

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