Diageo has launched a global initiative set to provide £80m ($100m) to aid pubs and bars as they reopen after lockdown.
Called Raising the Bar, the programme will run over a two-year period beginning July 2020. It will focus on cities that are hubs for the hospitality industry, including London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, New York, Mexico City, Shanghai and more.
The fund is specifically dedicated to supporting businesses by paying for equipment such as hygiene kits complete with permanent sanitiser dispense units, medical-grade hand sanitiser and personal protection equipment; connecting venues with online reservations and cashless systems; and providing mobile bars and outdoor equipment.
The programme was developed based on a global survey of bar owners, who expressed hygiene measures and digital support as their main priorities upon reopening.
‘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,’ said Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo.
‘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.’
To participate in the programme, outlets must have been operating for a minimum of 12 months before Covid-19 lockdown measures were put in place. They must also show how they plan to ‘raise the bar’ in their community – for instance, by providing skills training or promoting positive drinking behaviours.
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