Holts, Hydes, Lees, Robinsons and Thwaites issue a joint statement

The managing directors of the leading breweries and pub operators in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire have joined together to echo GM Mayor Andy Burnham’s recent statement in regard to no further restrictions without financial support.

The hospitality industry has been under immense pressure recently with pubs especially being under threat of closure as the Government looks for ways to encourage social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The government is not able to produce any evidence that pubs or the hospitality sector is a significant factor in coronavirus transmission

Pub bosses argue that statistics prove that most cases of Covid-19 are in fact transmitted in people’s homes, care homes, educational settings and hospitals rather than pubs. Pubs and restaurants have been under pressure for months to follow extra guidelines by enforcing extra cleaning routines, one-way systems, table service, mandatory wearing of masks and limiting the numbers of customers allowed in the premises at one time. Many have also implemented temperature checks as well as digital ordering and contactless payment.

2020 09 25 Pub The Eagle
JW Lees boss William Lees Jones issued the joint statement on behalf of northern pub owners with bosses from Robinsons, Holts, Hydes and Thwaites

Hospitality venues have also been complying with the Government’s contentious Track & Trace system which asks customers to provide their name and contact details or display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers can ‘check in’ and venues must also keep strict records of all staff shift times.

Since pubs were allowed to reopen in July, pub groups have managed to collect their own data on the number of cases reported after a visit to their premises. The results are revealing. 

In a joint statement published today, pub bosses point out that out of a collective number of 860 pubs in Manchester, around the North West and North Wales, which have been visited by over 8 million people, there hasn’t been a single case of the virus linked to a visit from one of their pubs.

Because of this, pub bosses have called the current government policy to single out pubs for closure in Tier 3 without a corresponding economic support package, ‘a national disgrace’ which will destroy businesses, increase employment, affect the living arrangements of landlords and their families and have a negative effect on local communities.

Read the full statement below:

Tier 3 Pointlessly Victimises and Destroys Pubs, Their Employment and our Northern communities

Fri 16 Oct 2020

Our breweries and pubs have been an integral part of Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire and the North West’s communities for hundreds of years – we are on the ground – we are not running our pubs in a theoretical intellectual and political bubble 200 miles away in Westminster.

The current government policy to single out pubs for closure in Tier 3 with inadequate support is a national disgrace. It is clear, and the statistics show, that transmission of the coronavirus is happening in education, care homes, hospitals and the home. Already we have been trading with severe restrictions since 31st July in Greater Manchester but we feel that the government is now going too far and we stand by the stance that Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester, is taking that our pubs cannot be closed down in the manner proposed with Tier 3 restrictions and only very limited compensation. The government is not able to produce any evidence that pubs or the hospitality sector is a significant factor in coronavirus transmission – because there is none.

Since the start of July our 860 pubs, in Manchester and around the North West of England and North Wales, have had not one case where they have been contacted by Track and Trace as a result of linked virus cases in one of our pubs. Our pubs have had between 8-10 million visits since re-opening in July – we are aware informally of only 15-20 individuals who have been in touch with their pub in the days after visiting to say that they have contracted the virus. This equates to 0.25 people per 100,000 visits of pubgoers who might have or more likely did not contract the virus on a visit to a pub.

Pubs are being victimised and made a scapegoat in a desperate political effort to be seen to do something – even though it is obvious it will not work as the real problem lies elsewhere. Victimising pubs for closure will destroy people’s businesses and employment, take away the homes of landlords and their families and cause community misery and financial ruin in the North of England and Wales.

Shutting our pubs would be a deliberate political act of wilful economic destruction, visited upon the North for no gain. Our pubs have already been made Covid-secure and are safe and ready to play their part in their communities through the winter – Northerners should not agree that their economies, employment and communities are deliberately devastated by this Conservative government’s action.

Richard Kershaw, Chief Executive Officer – Joseph Holt of Manchester

Adam Mayers, Managing Director – Hydes of Manchester

William Lees-Jones, Managing Director – JW Lees of Manchester

Oliver & William Robinson, Joint Managing Directors – Frederic Robinson of Stockport

Richard Bailey, Chief Executive – Thwaites of Blackburn

Also read - 'Well-managed pubs are the safest places to visit' - Landlords respond to new rules