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Brewers welcome “scrapped” Covid passports

Published:  26 April, 2021

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has responded to growing speculation that Covid “passports for the pub” have been shelved, calling pubs and taprooms across the country “safe” for reopening without additional red tape.

Today, the trade body responded to growing reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has shifted the focus from controversial plans to introduce Covid certification passports for hospitality venues, and is instead concentrating on devising a system that will enable foreign travel and the reopening of sectors like theatres, sports venues and nightclubs.

“With cases now as low as they were last summer and the extraordinary progress of the vacation programme, it is sensible and welcome that the Prime Minister is moving away from the idea of Covid Passports for hospitality,” James Calder, SIBA chief executive said.

“We know that pubs and taprooms are safe based on all the evidence collected over the last 12 months. Covid passports would have been another unjustifiable level of red tape and incursion into the freedom of individuals.”

Calder also drew attention to the reopening of hospitality venues in Scotland and Wales, starting today. While this is “good news” he said, he added that the industry is still running at “a third of its usual capacity and small breweries, who mainly supply pubs but were left out of hospitality support, are still under immense pressure. Pubs and breweries will not be profitable for many weeks and months to come until all restrictions are peeled off”.

For many businesses, the threat of closure remains. Hundreds of small independent breweries across the UK are still seeking the introduction of a ‘brewers support fund’ which has been implanted in Scotland but not the rest of the UK.

SIBA is now calling for a similar fund to be introduced for all independent brewers.

Now pubs are open outside in England, a joint campaign from SIBA, CAMRA, BII & Cask Marque are encouraging customers to share photos of themselves enjoying cask beer, which is only available in pubs, using the hashtag #CaskIsBack (see top photo, courtesy of SIBA).