Patrick Dardis, chief executive of Young’s Pubs has told the Evening Standard that although he would have preferred an April reopening date for the pub sector, he would take a clear roadmap with a later opening over uncertainty.

“If Boris said on the 22: “here is a very clear map for the pub sector, that you could open in the first week in May with one metre social distancing, the rule of six outside, multiple households inside, and then a month later, we would reduce that and then a month later, we would hopefully remove the restrictions are”, then we would take that every time,” he said.

Dardis was among several pub sector CEOs that wrote to the Prime Minister last week announcing they would be pulling out of talks with business minister Paul Scully due to a “growing sense of betrayal” from the government over the treatment of the hospitality sector in relation to the pandemic.

The letters called on Boris Johnson to offer strong leadership and to support the sector in his upcoming roadmap announcement on 22 February and to implement a reopening plan reflective of that put in place last July.

“As far as Young’s are concerned, and I think I speak for a lot of CEOs in the pub sector for this, if we had that certainty, we would support that,” he told the Evening Standard.

He said that the sector knows it could be subject to changing infection rates, but that they could accept that as long as the government maintained reduced VAT rates for another 12 months and a business rates holiday extension. “It’s not perfect but we would support the government,” he said.

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