Pubs and bars in Dundee have said extra support must be given to ensure the industry survives the coronavirus lockdown.
It comes after Michael Gove warned pubs would be among the last to see lockdown restrictions lifted, leading to the British Beer and Pub Association to call on the UK and Scottish Governments to increase their support for the industry.
The Scottish Licenced Trade Association has also written to finance secretary Kate Forbes asking for pubs with a rateable value over £51,000 to be given access to government grants – currently, these larger premises are unable to apply for these grants.
Bar owners in Dundee have added to these calls, and said it is important they are given the support they need.
Wayne O’Hare, lease holder of the Bowbridge Bar in the Hilltown, said: “I think the hardest hit industries are the ones that have to stay closed the longest, so therefore it’s a given that more targeted support should be granted.
“If pubs are to remain closed past the end of the furlough period then it is incumbent on the government to continue the furloughed scheme as long as it takes to save millions of jobs in the sector.
“All pubs should be supported at such a grave time for the industry, irrespective of rateable value, the industry is already on its knees without giving it any more hoops to jump through.”
Meanwhile Phil Donaldson, founder and managing director of Macmerry 300, which runs a number of successful establishments across the city including the Bird and Bear, Draffens and The King of Islington, insists the future for pubs if lockdown remains could give some license holders sleepless nights.
He said: “If the government decides to open the economy back up by industry then it’s obvious the businesses that create the larger social gatherings will be the last to come back.
“This clearly has knock on effects to not only pubs and restaurants but producers and suppliers alike so isn’t as simple as just a pub opening or closing its door.
“If this is the case the government will need to continue fully with their funding initiatives until business can go back to working at full capacity as they did before the pandemic.
“This includes local authority grants, more government backed bank loans and a continuation of the furloughed staff retention scheme.
“The whole situation going forward will be extremely grim if there isn’t sufficient help from the government and local authorities.
“Having capital to start back up again will be key.
“You cannot open any business without a penny in the bank.
“Even after the restrictions are lifted the government will need to look at a continuation of support for quite some time to come because the customers may never use pubs and restaurants in the same way again.”
The UK Government has been approached for comment.