Hospitality executive asks Brits to ‘dispense with’ Dry January and support pubs


As pubs, bars, and restaurants face a second holiday season under the pressure of COVID-19, several hospitality bosses have suggested that people should keep going to pubs during Dry January. Promoted by Alcohol Change UK, Dry January invites everyone to abstain from drinking alcohol during the whole month and donate the money they did not spend on drinks to a good cause.

Some participants even raise money for charity throughout the month.

However, in the eyes of pub and bar owners, the challenge is a hard hit for their finances, especially since people spend less money in the months following the holidays.

With COVID-19 still on the agenda, the hospitality industry never returned to its 2019 revenues which have tumbled from 60 percent.

Pre-pandemic, Christmas and New Year’s Eve were the busiest and most profitable weeks of the year for the social venues.

Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of the trade body UK Hospitality, told The Guardian: “I think we could definitely dispense with it [Dry January].”

“This year, there are an awful lot more non-alcoholic options available that are really good quality, so there’s no excuse not to go out and support your local hospitality business.”

Greg Mulholland, the Campaign for Pubs director, confirmed: “Pubs and publicans will need support throughout January, and we’d urge people to continue to go to the pub.

“The pub is about so much more than having a drink, so we hope people recognise the important role pubs play in our communities and get out and support them, whatever they choose to drink and eat.”

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He said: “Medical evidence says that drinking in moderation is more sensible than abstaining for an entire month.”

“I do think that having been denied the opportunity to mix and socialise, a lot of people will say they’ll make up for lost time and be more sociable in January.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics say that alcohol killed a total of 8,974 people in the UK in 2020.

Public Health England also reported a rise in problem-drinking deaths associated with successive lockdowns and people drinking more from home since the pandemic’s start.


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