The leading pub membership organisation, the Forum of British Pubs (FBP) has welcomed the relaxation of the Government’s lockdown guidance which means that pubs can finally open their doors again.
But in doing so, they are advising members and non-members alike to ensure they stick firmly to any revised guidance announced by the Government, and at the same time calling on the Government to be crystal clear about their guidance, which even at this stage is lacking on detail.
Managing Director of the FBP, Ian Cass said, “The past three months have been a very difficult time for the pub industry as a whole, but in particular for the owners and tenants of the pubs themselves. The country as a whole will be celebrating them opening their doors again, but landlords need to be fully alive to the fact that they are responsible for strict adherence to the rules, and failure to follow them will expose them to claims from staff and customers, and an insurance policy that potentially will not cover them.”
A key concern of the FBP is that the Government’s guidance is not yet completely clear, and additionally that in any case many pubs will not practically be able to adhere to them to the letter. This will leave some landlords open to potential claims and will find themselves with insurance policies that do not protect them.
In that rural pubs may not have the benefit of open wifi signals there will be limits on how much technology can actually be used and maintaining control over signing in books and maintaining customers’ confidentiality may not be as easy as it sounds.
Ian Cass added, “Moving to a ‘one metre plus’ approach will clearly help pubs, and both landlords and customers need to be responsible in abiding by this, but there will inevitably be some pragmatism that has to be exercised, and we are looking to the Government and the insurance companies to recognise this in continuing to protect the interests on the pubs.
In line with the statement from the Pub Code Adjudicator, we will also be looking for the PubCo’s to play their part in dealing fairly with their tenants.
If landlords have any concerns they should contact the FBP for support.