13:31 GMT28 February 2021
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    LONDON (Sputnik) – Almost 10,000 pubs, clubs and restaurants in the United Kingdom were forced to close permanently in 2020 due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on the hospitality sector, consultants CGA and business advisory firm AlixPartners said in a joint report released on Friday.

    “In all, 9,930 licensed premises across Britain closed for good in 2020,” the latest Market Recovery Monitor said.

    According to the report, closures were “heavily weighted” towards the second half of the year, when the effects of long periods of restrictions “started to bite.”

    It added that 39.3 percent of the venues closed their doors permanently between July and September, in the aftermath of the first national lockdown, with another 26 percent following suit between October and December, when licensed premises were closed again except for takeaway and delivery.

    Commenting on the report, Karl Chessell, CGA's business unit director for hospitality operators and food said that after such a bleak Christmas, it is difficult to be optimistic about the market, but said that he expected the hospitality sector will start to recover once the current COVID-19 vaccine rollout allows the market to reopen.

    “Consumers are desperate to get back to eating and drinking out, and we can be confident that footfall and sales will return when the sector can finally reopen,” he said.

    Chessell warned, however, that in the meantime, the case for government support over the next few months is urgent and compelling.

    “There are better days to come, but the sector will be in survival mode for some time yet, he added.

    Interviewed on Friday by Sky News broadcaster, Emma McClarkin, CEO of British Beer & Pub Association, said that no pubs will be able to survive until May unless substantially enhanced packages of support from the government.

    “We need more if we're going to survive through this period of time,” she said.

    According to the report, for every new site opening up last year, there were 2.5 closures, doubling the ratio of 1.3 in 2019.

    restaurant, pub, coronavirus, COVID-19, U.K
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