Dear Otley Pub Club members and friends,
We are writing to you at this very challenging and worrying time to send our thoughts and best wishes to you all – and especially Otley publicans and pub staff and others who are seriously affected by the current crisis.
As well as the health risk from this awful disease, the financial impact of this crisis is huge and something that means no income at all for Otley’s famous pubs and bars – and that means no income for our hardworking publicans and either a drop in income (of a fifth) for employed pub staff or no income altogether. This means hardship for some and also threatens the survival of businesses in the hospitality sector.
As far as we know, all Otley pubs and bars are now fully closed and not offering food and drink takeaway/collections (they are legally allowed to do so if they wish, as are other food takeaways and off-licenses). If any pubs are offering services please let us know and we can publicise this.
Some pubs and bars are helping keep the community spirit going – many of us enjoyed GroovePad’s weekly Wednesday quiz for the last 2 weeks – but now it is GroovePad’s ‘Social Distancing Quiz’ via Facebook! It was great fun and it’s happening again each week, so join resident quizmaster Lee each Wednesday at 9pm (with a drink in hand if you have one!). Just go onto GroovePad’s Facebook page on Wednesday, just before 9pm https://www.facebook.com/groovepad/.
We see also that North Bar (as a company), owners of North Bar Social, are doing a virtual pub quiz on Tuesday, see https://www.facebook.com/events/199923294767949/
Some pubs and bars are offering online vouchers – for you to buy now to support them through these tough times and then spend them when they are allowed to be open again.
Check out this message from North Bar:
“NORTH BAR CLOSED – VOUCHERS AVAILABLE
The hospitality industry is facing unprecedented challenges due to the Coronavirus. The North Bar family of bars is closed indefinitely from 21/03/20.
In order to support our independent family of bars from the safety of your home we have created a voucher scheme to aid our cash flow and support our staff.
It’s a simple scheme – you buy a voucher now and we top it up with 33% extra cash. The vouchers are then valid on North Brewing Co products (draught and cans) after things get back to normal. To buy the vouchers please click here https://bit.ly/northbarvouchers
All Ts + Cs available on via the voucher link above.
Thank you so much for your support so far xxx”
Also, The Royalty and The Rookery:
Dear Loyal Customer
Like much of the UK we are closed for the foreseeable future. To help us during this period we have joined Save Pub Life – an initiative by Budweiser Brewing Group that gives you a unique opportunity to support your local pub. All you have to do is buy a round in advance!
From today you can buy a gift card for our pub for when we reopen. Budweiser Brewing Group will match the value of your gift card so we receive the total amount even though we are closed. But we can’t wait to see you once we’re open.
So please click the link to save pub life and we look forward to raising a glass with you in the future!
BUY YOUR GIFT CARD HERE:
If other pubs and bars are doing anything similar, please do let us know and we will publicise it.
Otley Pub Club will do all we can to help support publicans and pub staff and hope all can access some of the Government support offered for businesses.
We’re also appalled to see that some of the pub-owning companies (including some who own pubs in Otley) are STILL intending to charge the publicans rent even when the pub is closed and unable to trade. This is a disgrace and we join other organisations in calling on all companies to follow the example of Admiral Taverns (who own the Cross Pipes) and some other smaller pub owning companies/breweries and cancel commercial rent while pubs are unable to open and have no income. (We praise Admiral and the other companies for doing this).
Some companies, including Star Pubs and Bars (Heineken) – who own The Junction, White Swan, Black Bull, The Fleece, Whitakers, The Yew Tree – and EI Group (formerly Enterprise Inns) – who own the Red Lion and currently vacant Rose and Crown – are STILL seeking to charge rent for closed periods, which is a disgrace. They are saying they will ‘defer’ the rent. In other words, they will seek to collect the rent later in the year, despite the pub being closed and having no income, which means they are expecting publicans to take the hit – and making them build up large debts.
So we are urging them to do the right thing and CANCEL commercial rent during the closure. Anything else is not only grossly unfair, it also means publicans will be simply unable to carry on – and will be forced to leave the pubs. Please join us (including on social media) telling them to do the right thing and cancel rents! Please use #NoPubNoRent
In happier news, the lovely Curious Hop (and other off-licenses) remains open whilst we cannot enjoy beer in our beloved pubs and there are some local breweries who can supply beer, including some who will deliver (including bag in a box cask ale!). Some of these are listed here, with independent off-licenses also beerishere.org, If anyone is doing this and not listed, please do encourage venues to get their name on here.
Also, thanks to our friends at Leeds CAMRA, also keeping in touch and letting people know where they may be able to safely get beer to see us through these tough times. CAMRA’s excellent national pub database, WhatPub has been modified to only list pubs that are offering deliveries or takeaways.
Finally, a reminder of the central role pubs play in our community. The team at The Junction, up to closure, were offering free care packs to vulnerable people and the Black Horse produced meal packs from their leftover food to be distributed.
See you when it’s over. See you back in an Otley pub. Look after yourselves.
Otley Pub Club Committee