The outbreak of coronavirus placed extraordinary pressure on pubs and the hospitality sector as national lockdowns forced closures. Demand also took a hit as punters chose to stay at home to avoid catching the virus.
New data from real estate advisers Altus Group shows there were 319 pubs in Northumberland as of June – down from 328 in March 2020, before the first lockdown.
Across the North East there have been 58 closures since the start of the pandemic, including 11 this year.
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Altus Group said pubs could have fared worse during the pandemic, and instead proved “remarkably resilient" during the economic turbulence.
However, its UK president Robert Hayton warned that they are now dealing with "soaring energy costs, inflationary pressures and tax rises” which may force more pubs to close their doors.
Pub numbers across England and Wales have dropped below 40,000 for the first time, with 200 lost between the end of 2021 and the end of June.
This decline started long before the pandemic – nationally 7,000 pubs have been shuttered over the last decade.
Altus Group said these pubs will likely have been demolished or turned into residential and office space.
The figures cover pubs that pay business rates, including those vacant and offered to let.
Research by the British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and UKHospitality shows only 37% of hospitality businesses are turning a profit at present.
The rising costs of energy, goods and labour have been blamed for falling profits, and the industry is now calling on the Government to provide more support.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “When pubs are forced to close it’s a huge loss to the local community, and these numbers paint a devastating picture of how pubs are being lost in villages, towns and cities across the country.
“As a sector we have just weathered the hardest two years in memory, and we now face the challenge of extreme rising costs, with only one in three hospitality businesses currently profitable.
“It’s essential that we receive relief to ease these pressures, or we really do risk losing more pubs year on year.”