The restrictions imposed on community wet led pubs in tier 2 are “disproportionate,” “unfair,” and “wrong,” MCA’s The Conversation has heard.

Speaking at the event, Punch Pubs CEO Clive Chesser said he, along with the majority of the industry, has tried to comprehend and comply with the government’s decisions since March, but his emotions are increasingly turning “from understanding, to frustration and anger.”

Chesser, who’s pubco owns over 1,300 UK sites, said he “struggles to comprehend” some of the government’s more recent strategies for tackling the virus – namely its ‘substantial meal’ caveat on ordering alcohol, and the ban on mixing households in hospitality spaces in tier 2.

“They’re not rational and are unfairly penalising certain parts of the country and certain sectors,” he said. “Particularly, community wet-led pubs.”

Of the substantial meal rule, he said he’s “not really sure what they’re trying to achieve, and whether they’re actually attacking covid or they’re attacking the consumption of alcohol.

“And I find it difficult to understand some of the restrictions around single households that have been implemented despite the work that’s been put in by all of the pubcos to provide socially distance environments and to do it really professionally,” he added.

Aware that hospitality “has to play its part” in combating the pandemic, Chesser said current government policy “feels disproportionate and unfair,” not just for pubco bosses but also, primarily, for tenants.

“This lack of certainty and short term-ism really doesn’t help with the emotional stress, let alone the financial stress, that this crisis bears on tenants,” he said. “We all have to remember that the role our pubs play is not just straightforward retail. They are very often the glue in the local community.

“They’re the best community outreach programmes that the government has, and thousands of them have carried on providing community services even when they’ve not been able to trade.

“My overriding emotions are sympathy and admiration for how they how they carry on.”