The list of tier rules that don’t go in the favour of pubs is long. We know that companies are in for a harsh Christmas with so many restrictions in place. But another headache for bosses from this week’s Covid-19 winter plan is the lack of a strategy about getting workers back to offices.
Guidance is still work from home where possible. That means the City and West End will keep missing the workers that, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, spent large amounts of money on beer, wine, fizz and gin. More liquid lunches and after work drinkies than ‘substantial’ meals.
The government should provide a more detailed plan on when the WFH rule will change if it wants companies to reopen watering holes in central London.
One operator with a number of pubs in zones 1 and 2 shares a back-of-a-fag-packet calculation: at its sites in the Square Mile, around 75% of weekly sales come via local workers, followed by local residents and then tourists.
So the prospect of more tourists coming into town, thanks to travellers arriving in England being able to end their quarantine period after five days from December 15, is welcome, but not a major boost for beleaguered bar groups. It will benefit the West End more, and the City much less so.
Pubs can reopen after the second lockdown restrictions are eased next week, but quite so many rules will make trading at a number of Central London venues financially unviable.
Expect to see plenty of boozers closed in town until bosses know there will be enough office workers around to fill these once buzzing sites.