The longer we have to live with disruptive social measures on people’s movement the worse will be the impact on pubs.

The UK’s most senior medic Chris Whitty said it was important to be realistic that “highly disruptive” social distancing would need to be in place for “really quite a long period of time”.

His stark assessment dampened hopes that the lockdown would be largely removed when it is reviewed in just over a fortnight.

CAMRA says Whitty’s comments will be devastating for thousands of local communities, pubs, breweries and cider makers.

CAMRA is calling for the Government to confirm it support packages for businesses and their staff until there restrictions are ended.

CAMRA’s Chief Executive Tom Stainer said: “The pub industry was one of the first to be affected by the lockdown and it is likely to be one of the last to have restrictions lifted.

“This is having a hugely devastating impact not only on local businesses and jobs but on the breweries and cider producers that sell their products through pubs.

“The Government needs to recognise the impact of an extended lockdown on these businesses and confirm that the support package in place is extended until all restrictions are lifted.

“It must also consider a support package for pubs, breweries and cideries after they are able to re-open, in recognition that it will take many months for businesses to recover fully.”

Pubs urgently need special consideration said the brewing industry.

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Pubs are the original social network, so reopening them with social distancing restrictions is going to be extremely difficult. Both for staff and customers alike.”

She said the Government is going to need to give pubs special consideration for a restart, as well as specific support just for them.

“The Job Retention Scheme must continue for pubs throughout their closure along with a ‘back to work’ scheme with the same level of support when they can re-open. Such measures will save jobs whilst the trade slowly recovers, said McClarkin.

“Further extension of the grant support from Government for pubs, including the 10,000 pubs above the threshold for such support at present, will also be needed. Pubs will be lost if such measures are not taken, and will help the trade whilst it slowly recovers.

“ We need these measures put in place now, to ensure that pubs can survive and be ready to re-open when safe to do so and then help as they slowly recover.”

She warned trade will not immediately return to the level it was before the COVID-19 crisis hit.

“Upon reopening, trade could be down by as much as half what it was before. It will inevitably take time for consumer confidence to build. Social distancing restrictions in pubs will inevitably have a direct effect on footfall in pubs,” she said.

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