BII reveals membership survey results on coronavirus impact & reopening

The BII, the leading independent membership body representing individuals working in the licensed trade, has just released the results of its second survey of over 8,500 members, the majority of whom are licensees of pubs.

The report gives a snapshot of the real challenges faced by licensees since pubs were ordered to close on 20 March 2020.

Despite the extensive financial support from Government and the potential restarting of the hospitality sector next month, the reality for many licensees is that their businesses are teetering on the edge of survival, with 1 in 4 pubs saying that they will not be able to reopen in July if social distancing remains at 2m.

Chief Executive of the BII, Steven Alton commented, “We represent a diverse community of licensees and every one of their pubs face unique challenges. Many pubs will struggle to open at all, having traditional pub environments not designed for social distancing.

'Whilst a number of other pubs have been able to diversify their businesses and offer takeaways, deliveries and other services to local customers, the majority have made very little money through these activities, but were keen to contribute to their communities during lockdown.'

The survey showed that 18% of members have had no access to grants as they have rateable values of £51k and over. These pubs, whilst slightly larger venues, are often your locals, who are really struggling to make ends meet during this lockdown.

If there is one common thread running through the results of the survey, it is the uncertainty that members are facing wherever they turn at the moment. Alton said, 'They need clarity and support both locally and nationally to enable them to balance the health and safety of their staff and customers, their livelihoods and future survival, whilst still delivering a great pub experience.

In addition to the survey, BII has been working in association with KAM Media, to conduct a research study into the future behaviours and attitudes of pub customers, which is a real concern to members.

Alton continued, 'We will be sharing Return of the Pub with our members next week, to give them an understanding of what their customers will expect from their pub experiences in these very different times.

'Finally, we will continue to use our members’ voices to inform the Government Taskforce at BEIS on the challenges that pubs face, and to call on Government to recognise that our sector needs extraordinary support as we move to the next phase of reopening our pubs.”