Scotland hit by 200 pub closures since start of pandemic

Scotland has lost some 200 pubs since the start of the coronavirus crisis while £820 million in beer trade has been wiped out, new figures suggest.

Trade body the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) said around 210 million pints in beer sales have been lost due to a full year of either forced closure, or trading under “severe” restrictions.

Since the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, pubs and other hospitality businesses have been among those hardest hit. They have also faced a number of restrictions to their trade during other periods of being open under the tier system.

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The SBPA is urging the Scottish Government to “give the sector hope” by aligning closely to the unlocking timetable outlined south of the Border.

Since the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, pubs and other hospitality businesses have been among those hardest hit. They have also faced a number of restrictions to their trade during other periods of being open under the tier system. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Emma McClarkin, the association’s chief executive, said: “Our sector has been devastated by Covid-19 and the lockdowns. It has been a year to forget for the Scotland’s pubs and bars.

“It is estimated that 200 pubs have been lost forever – 210 million pints in beer sales have also been missed, wiping out £820m in trade value from the sector.

“Sadly, we still haven’t seen the full extent of the damage yet and won’t do for some time until things really do go back to normal. And by normal, I mean a return to what life was like pre-Covid.

“Whilst we continue to assess the full damage to our sector, I urge the First Minister to give our businesses the hope that they desperately need by providing a viable route out of lockdown.

“The previous levels were entirely unviable for the majority of hospitality businesses, and they are desperately hoping for a more straight-forward approach to unlocking this time.”

She added: “We also hope the Scottish Government will look at providing more support for our wet-led community pubs who, although grateful for all the support they received, will not benefit from the VAT cut to food in the same way restaurants will. Local wet-led pubs have been amongst the worst affected by the virus so it’s important the Government goes that little bit further for them.”

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