How Can Pubs and Bars Come out the Other Side of a Second Lockdown?

By smei

Posted 13/11/20

As the UK is mid-way through an enforced second lockdown, we look at how pubs and bars can start planning ahead now.

Pubs and bars in “very high risk” areas have already faced tough restrictions over recent months, on top of paying a heavy price for the enforced closure during the national lockdown earlier this year – unfortunately we now find ourselves in the second national lockdown and the hospitality industry is once again put on hold.

Prior to this, the latest round of Government guidelines that were put in place to help combat the spread of Covid-19, the “Rule of Six” and localised lockdowns, to a 10pm curfew, had already started to have an impact on many hospitality businesses.  

The imposition of a 10pm curfew for pubs and bars has had a dramatic effect. On 21 September, the day before the curfew was announced, takings were slightly higher than the same period in 2019, but less than a week later, bars, restaurants, and pubs, had suffered a 37% fall in sales income.1

Worse followed for those who have businesses based in areas classed as tier three and had to close the doors on 14 October. Worse still, on 5 November, the Government then resorted to a second full lockdown, as the rate of infection didn’t start to decline.

Clearly a second period of enforced closure is a devastating blow for already struggling bars and restaurants likely to be amongst the hardest hit.2 All of which explains why both redoubling infection control efforts, and preparing for the worst, are so vital now.

So, What can Pubs and Bars do to Prepare for Reopening?

First, those businesses that have had to close must now take steps to protect premises during closure and look closely at government financial support designed to help protect jobs and businesses forced to close.

When your pub reopens, it is vital that you follow government COVID-19 Secure guidelines – which cover everything from hygiene regimes to social distancing – as well as sector specific guidelines including table service only and face coverings. Following these guidelines will keep you from facing fines of up to £4,000 for non-compliance and will also help you to keep staff and customers safe.3

Now is a good time to review operations and planning, to help your businesses weather the storm if you are hit by the tighter local restrictions later this year and into next year.  Those steps could include:

  • Review inventory and stock processes 
    When facing an indefinite lockdown, you will want to make sure you don’t have masses of stock on your premises that is likely to go out of date. Work with suppliers to shorten delivery timescales, to allow you to order less stock but place orders more frequently. Reducing product ranges could help to cut costs and reduce exposure to unsold inventory.4
  • Think carefully about staffing 
    Employing people is often the largest single cost facing high street businesses so, painful as it might be, thinking about the affordability of retaining staff during enforced closure, without the safety net of the furlough scheme,5 is an essential precaution.4
  • Investigate online sales and takeaways 
    During the UK’s first lockdown, online sales boomed,6 while many bars and restaurants turned to takeaway and delivery services to help make ends meet.7 Of course, setting up a takeaway or delivery service for a bar or restaurant, or setting up to sell online during a lockdown may not be for every business, but investigating the possibility now will at least ensure businesses are prepared if the worst happens.

Planning ahead and adapting your business model could be your key to keeping your business afloat during these unprecedented times.

Even though your business is currently closed, maintaining your pub insurance or bar insurance is more important than you may think. Before cancelling or reducing insurance cover, consider the risks that affect your and your business. Even though you aren’t currently trading, you may still face liability claims from a member of the public for an incident that happened in the past.

Keep up to Date With Coronavirus 

For our latest news and guidance on the Coronavirus epidemic, visit our resource centre which will be updated daily as the situation develops, so please check back often for the latest material.

If you are already a smei customer and have any questions, please call call us on 0330 134 4602



Posted 13/11/20

Author: smei

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