Northern pub bosses issue scathing joint statement ahead of ‘imminent’ Tier 3 restrictions

Unsplash / Louis Hansel

Bosses of a number of leading breweries and pub operators in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire have issued a joint statement ahead of “imminent” Tier 3 restrictions across in the region.

The Managing Directors of Holts, Hydes, Lees, Robinsons and Thwaites have joined together to issue a statement echoing Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham’s firm stance that no further restrictions should be imposed on the region without necessary financial support, particularly with relation to the hospitality industry.

The joint statement comes amid “ongoing” back-and-forth discussions with local leaders, MPs, and central government over the past week surrounding the prospect of Greater Manchester entering Tier 3 restrictions under the government’s new three tier coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions scheme.

This follows the placing of the county of Lancashire into Tier 3 last Friday.

It also follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s live address to the nation during last Friday’s press conference where he warned that he may “need to intervene” in Greater Manchester if an agreement is not met.

Mr Johnson stated that the situation is “grave” and “worsening by the day”.

Given that hospitality is the industry which has arguably been subject the most change throughout the pandemic, with the uncertainly only set to continue, pub bosses have now issued a statement arguing that statistics prove that most cases of COVID-19 are transmitted in people’s homes, care homes, educational settings, and hospitals, rather than pubs.

It also adds that hospitality businesses have been going great lengths to adhere to government guidelines since being given the green light to reopen back in July.

They have stated that “shutting our pubs would be a deliberate political act of wilful economic destruction”.

The full statement reads:

“Our breweries and pubs have been an integral part of Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire and the North West’s communities for hundreds of years – we are on the ground – we are not running our pubs in a theoretical intellectual and political bubble 200 miles away in Westminster.

The current government policy to single out pubs for closure in Tier 3 with inadequate support is a national disgrace. It is clear, and the statistics show, that transmission of the coronavirus is happening in education, care homes, hospitals and the home. Already we have been trading with severe restrictions since 31st July in Greater Manchester but we feel that the government is now going too far and we stand by the stance that Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, is taking that our pubs cannot be closed down in the manner proposed with Tier 3 restrictions and only very limited compensation.

The government is not able to produce any evidence that pubs or the hospitality sector is a significant factor in coronavirus transmission – because there is none.

Since the start of July, our 860 pubs in Manchester and around the North West of England and North Wales, have had not one case where they have been contacted by Track and Trace as a result of linked virus cases in one of our pubs. Our pubs have had between 8-10 million visits since re-opening in July – we are aware informally of only 15-20 individuals who have been in touch with their pub in the days after visiting to say that they have contracted the virus. This equates to 0.25 people per 100,000 visits of pubgoers who might have or more likely did not contract the virus on a visit to a pub.

Pubs are being victimised and made a scapegoat in a desperate political effort to be seen to do something – even though it is obvious it will not work as the real problem lies elsewhere. Victimising pubs for closure will destroy people’s businesses and employment, take away the homes of landlords and their families and cause community misery and financial ruin in the North of England and Wales.

Shutting our pubs would be a deliberate political act of wilful economic destruction, visited upon the North for no gain. Our pubs have already been made COVID-secure and are safe and ready to play their part in their communities through the winter – Northerners should not agree that their economies, employment and communities are deliberately devastated by this government’s action.”

Richard Kershaw, Chief Executive Officer – Joseph Holt of Manchester

Adam Mayers, Managing Director – Hydes of Manchester

William Lees-Jones, Managing Director – JW Lees of Manchester

Oliver & William Robinson, Joint Managing Directors – Frederic Robinson of Stockport

Richard Bailey, Chief Executive – Thwaites of Blackburn

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For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.

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