Pubs and restaurants across Manchester are rushing to sell off food and drink before Thursday renders them fit only for the bin.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed in a televised press conference live to the nation last Saturday evening that a new four-week lockdown for England – which will be voted on in Parliament on Wednesday and is expected to come into force at 00:01 GMT on Thursday 5th November – would be introduced in an attempt to try to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Under lockdown restrictions, all hospitality venues are required to close, with the exemption of takeaway services.
“Many pubs, restaurants, cafes and food outlets are not allowed to trade during lockdown, and they have lots of food and drink in stock that may well end up in landfill if they aren’t sold before Wednesday night”, explains Charlotte Green from Manchester waste company TradeWaste.co.uk.
Some of the larger chain pubs have been selling pints of beer for discounted prices in an effort to clear out stocks and avoid huge waste.
Manchester’s “Bavarian pleasure palace” Albert’s Schloss is among the venues selling pints for just £1.
Pub chain Wetherspoons had also commented on Monday that “any ales not sold between now and lockdown will have to be thrown away, so it’s better that customers can enjoy it at a great price while the pubs remain open”, and Mitchells & Butlers – one of the largest operators – reported that the first lockdown cost it £11 million in waste caused by extra beer in pubs ready for St Patrick’s Day celebrations, which of course did not happen.
Charlotte Green continues: “The amount of potential waste caused by a sudden lockdown is staggering and could be as high as 307,500 pints in Manchester alone, however it’s thought that because of the length of notice, and the deals on offer, the wastage could be much less, which would be great news”
The big problem facing Manchester pubs and restaurants now though is that a third of their revenue is generated during the Halloween to New Year rush.
This is an important time for cashflow before heading into the quieter months of January and February.
And the potential for significant food and drink waste is set to become even worse than it may have originally been due to the government’s national lockdown rules which do not allow pubs, bars and restaurants to sell takeaway alcohol.
“Everything needs to go before Thursday” concludes Green.
“So get down to your local Manchester pub and buy a pint, or order some food from your local restaurant, everything you buy this week helps them, and helps save it going down the drain or to landfill”.