Sheffield City Council is working with the Sheffield and District Branch of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) to urge the Government to revise their policy on restricting pubs and bars from providing takeaway alcohol products during the national lockdown. Currently, hospitality venues are only able sell alcohol via delivery.
Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic, with many businesses having been unable to operate as normal for nearly a year.
“Having spoken to many local businesses in Sheffield, I know that they have faced the challenges Covid-19 restrictions have brought as best they can by quickly adapting their sales model to trade online, changing their offerings and making their venues Covid-secure. However I also know that for many pubs and bars one of the lifelines in the last lockdown was the ability to offer take-away alcohol products, as this gave the opportunity to keep their doors open, continue to employ staff and welcome their customers safely.
“The new lockdown restrictions state that takeaway alcohol can still be sold in supermarkets and other shops but not pubs, putting them at an unfair disadvantage and effectively shutting down their only livelihood. Pubs are the lifeblood of communities and this is especially true in Sheffield, where our eclectic mix of excellent independent pubs and breweries is one of the great highlights of the city.
“With Sheffield and District CAMRA, we are calling on the Government to reconsider their ban on the sale of takeaway alcohol in hospitality venues. Pubs and bars are essential to our local economy and we should be doing all we can to support them to survive through these difficult times, not hindering them.”
Councillor Julie Grocutt, Cabinet Member for Planning and Development at Sheffield City Council, said: “We have worked with businesses throughout the pandemic to ensure that they are able to trade safely and are up to date with most recent Covid-19 guidance and regulations.
“Whilst we appreciate the assessed risk of people congregating outside venues, our landlords are taking every effort to trade responsibly putting the necessary measures in place, and we will continue to support them to make sure they remain Covid-secure while operating.”
Dave Pickersgill, Pubs Officer for Sheffield and District CAMRA, said: “It is essential that pubs are treated fairly and given the same opportunities as other hospitality venues and supermarkets during the lockdown. Business owners have worked very hard to continue trading in extremely difficult circumstances, but many may face closure, resulting in further increase of unemployment, if they are unable to offer any kind of service in the months ahead. The Government must review this policy as a matter of urgency to ensure that Sheffield’s night time economy will be in a position to once again thrive when restrictions are lifted.”