The Bermondsey Beer Mile could face closures if it is not pedestrianised during the weekend, one of its top breweries has warned.
Hawkes Cidery on Druid Street is calling for the road to be made car-free on Saturdays during hours of operation to help with social distancing.
Its founder, Simon Wright, said the Mile needed to be pedestrianised to help with social distancing requirements.
Normal capacity has reduced substantially as a result of the need to prevent coronavirus.
“We’re at least at half capacity of what we can do normally,” said Mr Wright. “Businesses can’t survive on fifty per cent capacity. Unless we have this, it will make it very difficult to make ends meet, a lot of businesses will go to the wall.”
Mr Wright is calling on the council to ban cars from using Druid St during Saturday, which is the main trading day for tap-rooms on the strip.
He pointed to examples of Westminster Council pedestrianising parts of Soho to allow restaurants and bars to have ‘al-fresco’ eating and drinking.
But seeking to allay concerns from residents, some of whom will live on nearby council estates, Mr Wright said a car-free mile would allow breweries to more closely control the numbers of people drinking outside.
“There’s been a big thing about take-away pints, and having them wherever,” he said.
But having tables out on the road would mean, “we can control the flow of people better. There’s also a safety concern at the moment, with cars going up and down and pedestrians going into the road.
“We’re only talking twelve to eight, it’s not a late night thing. We just feel it’s the safest solution for everybody.”
Mr Wright’s call comes after another Bermondsey Beer Mile business, Affinity, urged its fellow businesses not to open to the public over social distancing fears.
“We know that a huge percentage of people who drink in the breweries in Bermondsey are not from the local area,” said Affinity co-founder Ben Duckworth.
“This is not your local pub with people who haven’t seen each other for ages and are meeting for a socially distanced pint; this is encouraging people to travel from miles away to congregate in enclosed, unprepared spaces.”