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As curfew kicks in...

One in three will socialise at home with friends

Cockburn Street Edinburgh pubs

Pubs now have to shut at 10pm (pic: Terry Murden)

A third of adults say they will cut down on time spent in pubs and restaurants and instead will invite friends to their homes.

Two in five (40%) respondents to a Consumer Pulse survey say they will go out less often as a result of the curfew measures—nearly three times as many as those who will go out more frequently (14%).

The poll was conducted on Tuesday across the UK after the announcement of requirements including 10pm closures and mandatory table service.

There was no breakdown in the figures among the four administrative areas of the UK where different rules apply on visiting other households.

Tighter regulations are set to have the biggest impact on consumers who have been slow to return to hospitality— especially those in older age groups. They appear less likely to affect the behaviour of previously regular visitors, who largely indicate they will maintain their frequency.

But the curfew might not have the government’s desired effect of reducing late-night contact, the survey suggests. A third (34%) of British adults say they would be likely to invite friends back to their house after 10pm, and nearly as many (30%) admit they would seek out alternative locations to continue socialising.

The Consumer Pulse Survey indicates the measures may have further important impacts on behaviour, including shorter visits and an even greater reluctance to visit city centres.

The new restrictions deal a major blow to operators who had got back on their feet after lockdown

– Charlie Mitchell, CGA

Among people who often go out late, three quarters will either stay for a shorter length of time (43%) or stay away in the late evening completely (34%). Of those who typically visit city centres, half (48%) say they are now less likely to visit venues—much more than those in rural areas (29%).

The regulations may also spread visits more evenly across the week—continuing a pattern of behaviour set in August by the popularity of the Monday-to-Wednesday Eat Out to Help Out promotion. Two in five (41%) consumers who previously went out on Saturdays say they are less likely to do so now, compared to 29% of weekday visitors.

CGA’s research & insight director Charlie Mitchell said: “Our survey shows that having been encouraged out to restaurants, pubs and bars in August, large numbers of consumers are now likely to retreat. The new restrictions deal a major blow to operators who had got back on their feet after lockdown, and to city-centre and late-night operators in particular.

“With so many people signalling they will simply switch their socialising elsewhere, rather than in the hygienic environments that operators have worked so hard to create, these measures may not even have much beneficial impact.

“Businesses have responded nimbly to all the restrictions that have been placed on them so far, and will now be finding more innovative ways to sustain trade without compromising guests’ safety.”

The Consumer Pulse data is based on a nationally representative survey of 1,000 British adults on Tuesday 22 September. 

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