'Very small percentage' of pubs can reopen in PM's lockdown roadmap

22 February 2021, 19:38

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Only a "very small" percentage of pubs in England will be able to reopen under Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown, an industry chief has told LBC.

The chief executive officer of Young's Pubs, Patrick Dardis, told LBC's Eddie Mair that the prime minister's announcement in the Commons is "not great" for the sector.

Pubs and restaurants will begin a staggered reopening from mid-April at the earliest if coronavirus conditions have been met, Mr Johnson said earlier on Monday.

Hospitality venues will be able to reopen for outdoor service in the second stage of his four-step roadmap to freedom - beginning no earlier than 12 April.

This date will be confirmed at a later time and will be decided using five weeks of data on Covid-19 and the effect of the vaccines during Step One of the relaxation of rules.

However, Mr Dardis said 12 April would be all well and good if this was the Mediterranean, but will not be for England.

Read more: Life almost back to normal by July in PM's 'roadmap' to freedom

Read more: Working from home to stay in place until summer as part of roadmap

Pubs are set to begin a phased reopening from 12 April
Pubs are set to begin a phased reopening from 12 April. Picture: PA / LBC

"I'm looking out my window now; it is pretty miserable," he told Eddie.

"Whilst opening outdoors when the weather's nice, and you've got consistently good weather, you can cope with that," he continued, but, he added, "most pubs in the UK are not viable with just outdoor space".

"A very small percentage of the pubs in the UK would be able to open and, of course, in London hardly any of those will be able to open."

Should all go well during the five weeks of Step Two, the prime minister said this would be enough to move to the third stage, allowing for indoor hospitality to resume.

There will be no requirement to buy a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks, nor will there be a curfew, however table service will be a requirement.

This step will come into effect no earlier than 17 May.

But Mr Dardis said this date was still a "very, very long time" away for pubs and similar businesses which are "already on their knees".

"We were very much hoping to be treated like non-essential retail," he said.

"Again, pubs were first to close and we're last to reopen. So we were rather hoping to get some better news from the prime minister today."

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

More Eddie Mair

'Who will investigate allegations of blackmail at the heart of Westminister?'

'Who will investigate allegations of blackmail at the heart of Westminister?'

Caller tells LBC he was a Conservative 'up until Boris Johnson took over'

Caller tells LBC he was a Conservative 'up until Boris Johnson took over'

'Aimless, feckless, hopeless': Eddie Mair explores Boris Johnson's writing

'Aimless, feckless, hopeless': Eddie Mair explores Boris Johnson's writing career

Scottish Tory leader: Boris Johnson must resign if he broke Covid rules

Scottish Tory leader: Boris Johnson must resign if he broke Covid rules

Downing Street flat refurb saga looks 'very unhappy' for Boris Johnson, LBC hears

Downing Street flat refurb saga looks 'very unhappy' for Boris Johnson, LBC hears

NHS nurse: 'I used to go into work happy – not anymore'

NHS nurse: 'I used to go into work happy – not anymore'

Eddie Mair raises questions in response to Matt Hancock briefing

Best of 2021: Eddie Mair raises questions in response to Matt Hancock briefing

Best of 2021: 'If you get £300k lobbying, being an MP is the second job'

Best of 2021: 'If you get £200k lobbying, being an MP is the second job'

Christmas on fire: Tree seller says he'll likely 'burn' stock due to fall in shoppers

Christmas on fire: Tree seller says he'll likely 'burn' stock due to fall in shoppers

A caller told Eddie Mair Allegra Stratton has been "thrown under a bus"

Allegra Stratton 'thrown under bus' by 'spineless' Prime Minister, says LBC listener

Mark Drakeford: New mask rules in Welsh schools 'imminent'

Mark Drakeford: Mask mandates in Welsh schools 'imminent'

Eddie Mair caller takes aim at Boris Johnson

'The man is a clown': Eddie Mair caller takes aim at Boris Johnson

Social care system: 'It needs more funds. It needs radical reform'

Social care system: 'It needs more funds. It needs radical reform'

Bradford Council Leader takes aim at Govt rail plan

'This has got me so angry today': Bradford Council leader takes aim at Govt rail plan

Azeem Rafiq's racism revelations mark 'sad day for cricket'

Azeem Rafiq's racism revelations mark 'sad day for cricket'

'People are beginning to wonder whether Boris Johnson sometimes likes to disappear'

'People are beginning to wonder whether Boris Johnson sometimes likes to disappear'