THE owner of an Oswestry-based brewery believes the tougher restrictions for people visiting pubs laid out in the government’s new tiered system could be harmful to the industry.

Shane Parr, of Stonehouse Brewery, believes the tougher restrictions on wet-led pubs in certain areas, including Shropshire, will have a negative impact on the industry.

Shropshire was placed in Tier Two local restriction level on Thursday, meaning wet-led pubs must remain closed after the end of the four-week national lockdown.

Only pubs which are not wet-led, and serve substantial meals, are permitted to stay open and serve alcohol.

But Mr Parr believes pubs which do remain open could also suffer, with fears that pubs will lose out whether they stay open or not.

“This stuff is harmful to the industry,” he said.

“Anyone who works in the pub and brewing industry knows that there are a lot of tight margins.

“If you have any restrictions at all in place, it discourages people from going out at all – there will be plenty of people who, because the rules keep changing, are just going to not bother.

“It’s all harmful for the industry because people just don’t know where they’re at.

“I think the problem is that many pubs don’t rely on just one income stream.

“They rely on those who come to socialise with a few pints, and you have those who come for sit-down meals.

“It’s going to harm the overall income of places.”

Pubs, bars and restaurants which are permitted to stay open must close at 11pm, with last orders at 10pm.

Mr Parr says the new rules have caused more confusion for brewers, with uncertainty over how much demand there will be for products.

He said: “From our brewing point of view, we don’t know how much beer to make, because it won’t last forever.

“So do we head back into full production on the assumption that people are going to go to pubs, or do we assume they won’t.

“The simple fact is that the government has made the decision to shut down our industry effectively, and so they need to fix that problem financially.

“People might think it’s ok because we can furlough the staff, but that’s not covering all of your costs like overheads and so on.

“Those things have helped people get paid during all these lockdowns, but that doesn’t mean their jobs are protected, because if the business doesn’t survive or struggles, those jobs will be lost.

“It’s the insecurity overall about what’s going to happen is what’s bad for people.”