Lockdown exit must be sustainable, says Adnams boss
- Credit: PA
Pubs and restaurants can sacrifice longer closure under the government's recovery roadmap - if it means the exit from lockdown is "sustainable", the boss of Southwold brewer Adnams has said.
Laying out the roadmap for the lifting of lockdown, prime minister Boris Johnson announced that hospitality businesses will have to keep their doors shut until mid-April at least.
Pubs and restaurants could be able to begin serving food and drink outdoors by April 12, subject to review based on the R rate of reinfection, the Covid vaccine rollout and case figures.
Indoor entertainment and some large events could reopen as soon as May 17, the prime minister said.
Reacting to the announcement Andy Wood, chief executive of Southwold-based brewery Adnams, said: "The important thing for me is that any exit from lockdown has to be sustainable.
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"The prime minister says he is going to be led by the science, and I think that's the right thing to do.
"I'm a little disappointed that pubs weren't brought forward in the same way in which retail has been brought forward.
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"By the Treasury's own research they said that pubs were not vectors for the disease in earlier lockdowns.
"So, I wonder why hospitality has been singled out again for this treatment?
"If it is because they are prioritising other parts of the economy, I think it would have been good for them to say that and provide appropriate levels of support to the hospitality industry.
"We are being put on notice that on April 12 pubs can open outside. So that gives us a glide path and we will start preparing for that eventuality.
"It will ease us back into normality and keep Adnams shipshape."
Adnams' hotels will also be able to open from May 17. In addition to his role at Adnams, Mr Wood also serves on the advisory board for VisitEngland.
Reopening hotels and bed and breakfasts in May could save the summer tourism season, Mr Wood said.
"We're seeing there is strong demand out there," he added. "So our view is that when we open up, we will open up strongly.
"And one of the things that we're going to have to do is work with our staff over the coming weeks to make sure that they are match-fit and able to hit the ground running.
"It is what it is. We've got to keep adjusting the business so that when we do open up we can do so with a smile on our faces and make this a great British summer."