JUST 40 per cent of the nation’s pubs are expected to reopen when restrictions ease this month, a trade body warns.
There are around 37,500 boozers in England which could open outdoors from April 12.
But only 15,000 pubs have enough outdoor space to welcome back drinkers or be financially viable, figures show.
Many venues, especially those in rural areas, may also struggle to take payments outside using WiFi.
And today Hospitality chiefs have warned that those that can open to thirsty Brits will be “loss making”.
Pubs will be loss-making until all restrictions are removed
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association
Emma McClarkin, of the British Beer & Pub Association, said there will be “a huge restriction on capacity”.
She said: “We know that pubs will be loss-making until all restrictions are removed.
“There will still be detrimental economic impacts from the introductions of these new processes and yet we haven’t been consulted fully on them.”
The chief executive said publicans have been told to do extra collections of test and trace data.
New guidance wants all customers to sign into a pub on entry, rather than just one member a group.
This is a huge change from last year, when just one member of a group could sign in post-Covid lockdown.
Emma added these measures could be “an additional burden on businesses at a very sensitive time of their recovery”.
Office for National Statistics figures showed that payroll worker numbers had fallen by 693,000 since February 2020.
More than half of this fall – 368,000 jobs – were lost in the hospitality sector as lockdowns and restrictions hammered the industry.
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In a joint statement, the BBPA, UK Hospitality and the British Institute of Innkeepers trade bodies have written to the government, stating: “Pubs will already be trading at a loss when they reopen with all the existing restrictions and Covid-secure measures in place.
“Adding further disproportionate and discriminatory measures threatens the very survival of thousands of businesses.
“It’s unfair to single out our sector again with these added impractical burdens that will have economic consequences and risk our recovery.”
Town halls have also been ordered to let bars and restaurants spill out on to pavements for a booming al-fresco April from the 12th.
Whitehall figures suggest the bonfire of red tape will allow 9,000 additional venues to open this month – rather than having to wait for indoor serving in May.
Restaurants and pubs in England will be able to serve customers in outdoor seating areas from April 12 in phase two of the lockdown easing.
They will then be given the green light to offer indoor seating from May 17, providing specific Covid conditions are met.
Thousands of punters have already booked slots in their locals but one said he called 20 pubs but “none have any space whatsoever”.
Fuller’s – which will reopen 183 pubs from this month – said it is seeing a “high level of bookings”.
And Rick Stein has also reportedly taken bookings from 20,000 customers for its Cornish restaurants in the last two weeks alone.
It comes as restaurant bosses are set to enforce a “pay-before-you-eat” policy to tackle “no shows” when venues reopen.