In Ireland we say ‘all dontations gratefully accepted’ anytime we get an unexpected few bob.
That sentiment is appropriate and no doubt genuinely felt in the global pub sector, with the announcement by Diageo, maker of GUINNESS, of a new programme to support pubs and bars worldwide to welcome customers back and recover following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Raising the Bar” will be a two-year programme available from July 2020.
Diageo says it will provide $100 million to support the recovery of major hospitality centres, including: New York, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Sydney and beyond. This $100 million programme includes the $20 million Community Fund announced in the United States on 12 June 2020.
Diageo says it designed the “Raising the Bar” programme following a global survey of bar owners to identify what they need to reopen after lockdown.
Their top priorities include hygiene measures, digital support and practical equipment to transform how their outlets will work.
The programme will provide targeted support to help pay for the physical equipment needed for outlets to re-open.
For example, in the UK, Diageo will provide initial funding for: ‘hygiene kits’ with high-quality permanent sanitiser dispense units, medical grade hand sanitiser and a range of personal protection equipment (such as masks and gloves); help to pubs and bars to establish partnerships with online reservations and cashless systems; mobile bars and outdoor equipment.
Bar owners will receive regular updates on best practice training and resources and be able to participate in global surveys to share insights, as they build back their businesses.
Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive of Diageo commented: ‘Pubs and bars sit at the heart of every community. We have launched “Raising the Bar” as so many outlets have been impacted by this crisis and badly need help to open their doors again.’
‘We are calling on governments around the world to provide long-term recovery packages to help the hospitality sector. These businesses play an essential role in bringing people together to socialise and celebrate – something that we have all missed so much during this terrible crisis – and sustain hundreds of millions of jobs, which provide a first foot on the employment ladder for young people.’
The UN’s International Labour Organization has forecast that 436 million enterprises worldwide face serious disruption and one in six young people will be unemployed due to COVID-19. The hospitality sector will be one of the hardest hit, as pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants provide hundreds of millions of jobs for many full and part-time workers.
The impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality sector has been widespread, with the closure of venues the world over.
Diageo says ‘As governments begin to ease lockdown measures, the public want to come together again to connect with their community and socialise safely. By providing access to free digital support, technology, training and equipment, Diageo aims to help bars open their doors again.’.
I know, I know. Naysayers will say thats all very fine in ‘major centres of hospitality’ which will mainly benefit from the fund, what about rural pubs in Ireland?
That would be a matter for another day. See sentence 1.