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Government will not rule out closing pubs this weekend

by Mark Fitt Political Journalist
21st Sep 20 3:47 pm

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he will not rule out pubs being closed this weekend across England as the government are preparing extra coronavirus measures.

He said on Monday that the government has not yet taken the “final decisions” on what responses are necessary, but changes will be made in the “very, very near future.”

On ITV’s This Morning, Hancock was asked whether pub landlords will be told to shut this weekend.

“We will be absolutely clear about the changes we need to make in the very, very near future,” he replied.

Hancock said his answer on pubs, was “not a no, and it’s not a yes.”

He added, “We have been working on this all weekend, we haven’t taken the final decisions about what we need to do in response to the surge that we have seen in the last few weeks.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) who represents around 20,000 UK pubs warned that closing pubs temporarily would create an “astronomical cost” to the sector.

McClarkin, chief executive of BBPA, said pubs and brewers have worked “tirelessly” to reopen safely, and the majority are still struggling to break even.

“Consumer confidence is very fragile, and any extra restrictions inevitably have a further cooling effect on that,” she said.

“It is vital that the Government recognises the unprecedented challenges that pubs and brewers are facing at this time.

“Shutting down completely, even for a short period, would be a monumental task, severely impact hundreds of thousands of livelihoods and would come at an astronomical cost to the trade.”

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