We have recently seen the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions on pubs adjusted in response to national and regional rises in infection rates. In our branch area you now can’t visit pubs in groups of more than six and you must have left by 10pm. A member of your group must give their contact details in case they are needed for Track and Trace. Customers must wear face coverings when entering or moving around a pub. At other times they must be seated with table service. Each change to the restrictions results in pub licensees reappraising their Covid-compliant measures to ensure that they are suitable to satisfy the restrictions and keep customers, staff and their communities safe. We are fortunate in our local area that Covid-19 infection rates are below the national average. Let’s do our best to keep them low and hopefully push them lower still.
We continue to maintain the Leaving Lockdown page on our website, updating it with information such as opening hours and any reservation requirements. The information in it also appears in an updates box on each pub’s WhatPub entry. Keeping this information up to date is a big challenge for local CAMRA volunteers. You can help by being our eyes and ears and keeping us informed either via WhatPub’s submit updates feature or by email.
October will see the Macmillan Cancer Support charity urge people to raise money for them with their Sober October challenge. Macmillan Cancer Support is a very worthy charity and needs funds to carry out its work but we are concerned that this challenge could hit many pubs at a time when they are struggling to get back on their feet. Communities need their pubs and it shouldn’t be forgotten that pubs also raise a lot of money for charities including Macmillan Cancer Support. PubAid estimate that pubs raise over £100 million for charities each year. If you are taking up the Macmillan’s Sober October challenge we would like to give you an additional challenge. Do it while visiting pubs as often, and spending as much while there, as you have previously. All pubs serve soft drinks and most have low or no alcohol beers. Many also have great food menus. So if you are taking up the Macmillan Sober October challenge, please do so without hurting pubs.
Since pubs started reopening you are again able to score your beers. Beer scoring is the best way for you to let us know what you thought of the beers you’ve been drinking. Members’ beer scores also influence our Good Beer Guide entry selection. Beer scores will be particularly useful this year as pub visits by branch committee members hasn’t been easy. This is especially true of village pubs. Scoring is easy to do via WhatPub, either from your phone while you are in the pub or from home afterwards. The 2021 edition of the Good Beer Guide will be out on 29 October. Although pub selections primarily occurred pre-shutdown all CAMRA branches will have reappraised them since pubs reopened to ensure that the 2021 edition is as up to date as possible.
Cambridge: City of Pubs
As previously stated, Cambridge Beer Festival Winter will not go ahead in November 2020. It isn’t compatible with the social distancing required to combat Covid-19. We also feel that it might impact on pubs at a time when they are gradually getting back on their feet. Instead of a beer festival we are thinking of running Cambridge: City of Pubs, a celebration of our independent and tenanted pubs. These are the ones that we think were hardest hit by the shutdown. We will soon be contacting licensees to ask if they want their pub included and hope that City of Pubs will feature over 40 pubs in Cambridge. We are planning for it to run from Friday 20 November to Sunday 6 December. Should local Covid-19 levels rise significantly, restrictions change or licensees request it, we might postpone it until 2021. CAMRA’s Huntingdonshire branch are planning something similar in the St Ives area from 10-25 October to replace their autumn Booze on the Ouse beer festival. Details are on their website.
Small Brewers Relief petition
Can I also remind you of the petition to protect the Small Brewers Relief scheme that helped spawn hundreds of microbreweries? The Treasury has proposed changes that would reduce the upper limit for 50% relief from 5,000 hectolitres annual production to 2,100 hectolitres. This would be a disincentive to growth and could result in some micros having to shrink to avoid higher duty rates. A petition against the changes was instigated by the Ansbach & Hobday brewery and is supported by CAMRA and SIBA. CAMRA has more information, links to the petition and a poster for pubs to display.
A few weeks ago we received an email asking about using the vouchers that CAMRA members receive annually. Some of the ones that have date restrictions expired during shutdown. Wetherspoons have agreed to accept, until the end of November, any vouchers that would have been valid during shutdown.
10–25 October. St Ives area Booze on the Ouse ale trail.
Tuesday 13 October from 8. Virtual branch open meeting and social. This meeting will be held on Zoom. Please email Steve, our branch secretary, if you’d like to attend.
Tuesday 10 November from 8. Monthly open branch meeting and social.
20 November–6 December. Cambridge: City of Pubs. A celebration of Cambridge’s independent and tenanted pubs.
Tuesday 8 December from 8. Monthly open branch meeting and social.
The health of each other, our family, friends and our communities is incredibly import. Please support our NHS and continue to follow the advice given by Public Health England, follow the rules laid out by government and the protocols each publican has formulated.