UK Global spirits and beer producer, Diageo has launched a US$100 million global programme dubbed “Raising the Bar” to help pubs and bars recover from Covid-19 while supporting jobs and communities around the world.

The Guinness brand owner said that the recovery fund will be a two-year programme available from July 2020 to support the recovery of major hospitality centres across the world following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through “Raising the Bar”, Diageo will provide US$100 million to pubs and bars in major cities including New York, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Sydney and beyond.

The brewer noted that the US$100 million programme includes the US$20 million Community Fund that the company announced in the United States earlier this month.

Diageo explained that the company designed the “Raising the Bar” programme following a global survey of bar owners to identify what they need to reopen after lockdown. The top priorities identified include hygiene measures, digital support and practical equipment to transform how their outlets will work.

According to the Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff brands owner, the programme will provide targeted support to help pay for the physical equipment needed for outlets to re-open including equipment for outlets to implement new social distancing measures, digital skills training and contactless technology

In the UK, Diageo noted that it will provide initial funding for: hygiene kits with permanent sanitiser dispense units, medical grade hand sanitiser and a range of personal protection equipment; help pubs and bars to establish partnerships with online reservations and cashless systems; mobile bars and outdoor equipment.

“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,” commented Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive of Diageo.

Diageo has also called on governments to provide long-term recovery packages for the hospitality sector. The UN’s International Labour Organization has forecast that 436 million enterprises worldwide face serious disruption and one in six young people will be unemployed due to COVID-19.

The hospitality sector is one of the hardest hit, as pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants remain closed or are resuming operations gradually. By providing access to free digital support, technology, training and equipment, Diageo said that it aims to help bars open their doors again.

“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,” Menezes added.

The company has invited bar owners to register their interest for the “Raising the Bar” programme via globally and in the UK and Ireland.

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