SIBA responds to latest Government guidance on Coronavirus

Tonight the prime minister Boris Johnson updated the Coronavirus guidelines advising people not to visit pubs, clubs or other public venues.

Responding James Calder, SIBA Chief Executive said:

“Government is right to follow the scientific advice to prevent the spread of this disease. But advising people to stay away from pubs, rather than ordering them to close is an ill thought through halfway house.

Government’s package of measures announced at the Budget last week were a step in the right direction but we need more. A lot more.

Pubs, and the small breweries that supply them now need direct Government help if they are to survive.

This evening and tomorrow we are speaking to Treasury and No10 to make those points in strongest possible terms and we will keep the UK’s small independent brewers updated.

Impact on the brewing, beer and pubs industry:

  • By giving the advice ‘to stay away from pubs’ in this way, rather than closing pubs, it places all of the financial burden for dealing with Coronavirus on the UK’s pubs, brewers and supply chain.
  • This is an ill thought through halfway house that allows Government and the UK’s insurers off the hook.
  • Coronavirus and the impact of this advice is the single biggest threat to our industry we have ever faced.
  • A million people work in the brewing, pubs and hospitality. They have been told that they don’t have any customers this morning, but they have been told nothing of how they can pay their staff or keep this businesses alive.
  • We need a substantial package of measures akin to what the banks received in 2008 to keep our pubs, brewers and suppliers open.
  • Without that package, hundreds of thousands of people will be out of work within the fortnight.
  • For those businesses lucky enough to have business interruption insurance that covers Covid 19, advising people to stay away but not mandating their closure means insurers do not have to pay out.

The Society of Independent Brewers are calling on the Prime Minister to urgently consult with the brewing, pubs and hospitality industry to:

  1. Put in place an urgent rescue package akin to the 2008 financial crisis for pubs, brewers and supply chain;
  2. Immediately relax licensing laws to allow breweries to sell and deliver beer direct to consumer.
  3. Guarantee the wages of all employees that work in the brewing, pubs and supply chain.
  4. Government to fund rent and cancel duty, VAT and business rate payments for all breweries, pubs and suppliers for 6 months


For latest advice visit the SIBA Coronavirus pages here:

These pages are likely to be updated on a rolling basis as more information becomes available.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Latest advice & guidance for brewers

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