Economies of ale: pubs in the time of COVID-19 [REPORT]

Pubs were among those businesses forced to close during restrictions introduced to halt the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). In their own words, landlords shared their experiences of the effect of lockdown on their businesses, which have now been release in a report ‘Economies of ale: pubs in the time of COVID-19’.  Some key points to come from this report are:

  • In May 2021, the percentage of pub and bar owners who had “high confidence” in their establishment surviving the next three months passed 20% for the first time since November 2020. In the past month, there has been a revival of confidence, with the most recent data for early May 2021 showing 24% of pub and bar owners had “high confidence” about the survival of their business beyond three months.
  • While the return of “high confidence” has shown promising signs of recovery, the drop in the number of pub and bar bosses who felt “low confidence” in the ability of their business to survive the next three months failed to last.  That “low confidence” dropped from 63% in November 2020 to 3% by April 2021, but by early May 2021, had risen significantly to 19%.
  • At its peak in the November 2020 lockdown, 91% of pub and bar staff were on furlough. This number has now decreased to 55%.  This compares with overall 8% to 15% of staff on furlough in all other businesses during the same period, indicating the heavier reliance of pubs and bars on the scheme. This suggests that where pubs and bars have been open, they have been operating with minimal staff. Not all pub and bar jobs will have been saved by the furlough scheme. In the weeks just after Christmas 2020, 12% of pubs and bars reported that it was likely they would make redundancies in the next three months. This number fell to approximately 4% by late February 2021. It is unclear whether this is because of increased certainty or because the redundancies had already gone through.
  • The impact of the Tier system meant that by mid-December 2020, more than 80% of pubs and bars recorded that their profits were more than 50% below what they would normally expect for the time of year, with that number soaring to 100% by late December 2020.
  • By late January 2021, pubs were still reporting a larger loss of profits compared with all other businesses for the time of year. However, those losses have recently started to decrease, with around 33% of pubs recording significant profit losses, because restrictions have eased since mid-April.
  • The full report can be found here:

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