Removing takeaway lockdown 'lifeline' would be 'ridiculous' says Sunderland and South Tyneside pubs' champion

A good beer champion fears the potential removal of a lockdown “lifeline” may prove the final straw for many pubs and small breweries.

Monday, 2nd November 2020, 2:16 pm

The brewing industry and licensed trade both regionally and nationwide adapted to initial coronavirus restrictions back in March by offering takeaway services.

Yet, with bars and restaurants having to close as part of a new lockdown from Thursday, November 5, there are fears that the latest restrictions will prevent the industries from offering similar services.

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Michael Wynne, the chairman of the Sunderland and South Tyneside branch of Camra, fears pubs will close permanently unless they are allowed to continue their successful takeaway services.

Draft regulations, still to be approved by Parliament, appear to only allow deliveries to home addresses and not takeouts.

Michael Wynne, the chairman of the Sunderland and South Shields branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), believes such a restriction would be “ridiculous” if passed.

He said: “This is pulling the rug from underneath pubs’ feet and I cannot understand the justification for it.

"It is not as if the pubs or breweries have to start something new with their takeaway services.

"They have already done it once successfully earlier this year and denying them the opportunity to make money during the latest lockdown could be the difference between success and failure and whether many pubs decide to reopen or not.

"It was a lifeline for many businesses and it seems unfair if they deprived of it again.”

Mr Wynne said he had heard stories of pubs already holding “closing down sales” in anticipation of Thursday’s lockdown being approved and added: “There are other places which were thinking of reopening in the run up to Christmas before all this.

"What will happen to them?

“A lot of smaller pubs and microbreweries have done a lot of work and made a lot of changes to survive and this might just prove to be the end for some.

"Then you will just be left with the big breweries who sell national brands and there will be very little choice left.”

The latest lockdown facing pubs is ironically set to begin only a week after Camra published its 2021 Good Beer Guide.

Twenty-two pubs from across Sunderland and South Tyneside are among the 4,500 entries in the 48th edition.

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