Cambridge CAMRA in the coronavirus shutdown

It may be only ten days since our last email but we’ve been thinking about what more we can do to face up to the challenges of the Covid-19 shutdown. Self-isolation and social distancing can leave many in need of social interaction. Who fancies a pub night? On Tuesday (14 April) from 8pm we’ll be having a virtual pub night at CAMRA’s Red OnLion virtual pub. We’ll book a table a day in advance and post its location on our website event and our Facebook event. Why not join us? I’m sure that the conversation will be wide ranging and will include how frequently we will hold these virtual socials. Future virtual socials will be posted on Facebook and our website.

We hope that you’ve been able to obtain suitable supplies of beer and cider recently. To help out everyone we’ve produced our beer in a pandemic page which lists beer and cider producers selling and pubs providing takeaway/delivery food and drink at the moment. Some pubs are even supplying grocery boxes to their local community. If we’ve missed anywhere, let us know. Nationally, CAMRA is running the Pulling Together campaign and we are making sure that local activities are being included.

If you have used WhatPub recently you will have noticed that location searches don’t always list the nearest pub. Instead they are showing the nearest pub that is offering takeaway or other additional services during the shutdown. If you untick that box it will search as previously.

Although some of the government’s emergency measures will be a big help to pubs many licensees are still very worried about what the future holds. Some pub owning companies such as Adnams, Everards and even pubco Admiral Taverns have been very supportive and have cancelled rents for the duration of the shutdown. They deserve a lot of praise for doing this. Sadly not all pub owning companies have been so supportive. Some, including the Ei Group and Greene King’s pub section are merely delaying rent payments until pubs can reopen. This will leave a sword of Damocles hanging over pub tenants, a sword that will get bigger week by week. Locally we have even heard of one pub owning property company that is expecting the rent to be paid now; without delay. Dreadful! Pubcos often claim that rents are based on pub turnover. Well during the shutdown pub turnover is zero it therefore follows that rents should be zero too. Pubcos can’t have it both ways. CAMRA is currently campaigning to get all the larger pub owning companies to follow best practice, cancel rents and save our pubs. Please help with this campaign.

Longer term we all need to think about things that we can do to help pubs, breweries and cidermakers bounce back when this is all behind us. Perhaps this is one of the things we can chat about at Tuesday’s virtual pub social.

Cambridge & District CAMRA

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