Edinburgh pub owner warns market value hit by restrictions

An Edinburgh bar owner has warned covid-19 restrictions will drive down the market value of premises, leaving those forced to sell out of pocket.

By Jolene Campbell
Monday, 12th October 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 12th October 2020, 2:18 pm
Oz bar, Edinburgh
Oz bar, Edinburgh

Iain Ponton, owner of Oz Bar in Edinburgh's Grassmarket, warned pubs will get lower valuations because profits have plummeted.

It comes days after hospitality workers dumped ice outside the Scottish Parliament in response to the First Minister’s announcement that pubs and restaurants will close for two weeks in Scotland’s central belt in an attempt to control the rising cases of coronavirus.

Pubs in the central belt were forced to close on Friday and are not allowed to reopen until at least 25 October.

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Oz Bar owner Iain Ponton

Owners in the Capital said the move was a kick in the teeth. Now industry has warned that bars are being put on the market at up to 20 per cent less than they would have done 12 months ago.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association estimates that up to two-thirds of the 2845 pubs in Scotland will have to close in the next few months putting around 25,000 jobs on the line.

Mr Ponton said: "The 10pm curfew saw us drop our income by half as most of our customers don’t tend to come in until about 9pm. We were already at about half capacity. Then when the curfew kicked in we saw an instant drop in sales. We’ve literally lost thousands.

"We were shut down for three months and now for a further two weeks so this will really affect valuations."

"The restrictions will take another huge chunk out of our sales. It’s a very scary time. I hope to be able to keep on my staff, but there’s no guarantees that pubs will be able to open again in a couple of weeks. It could be longer.”

"I'm not planning to sell my pub but my sympathies are with those who will be forced to sell next year when the value of their pub is down through no fault of their own. Some have put 50 years into their pubs and others have sold their houses to keep their pubs going."

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