Justice minister Robert Buckland has hit out at plans from the Wetherspoon pub chain over reopening its branches.
Pub reopening plans quashed. Buckland said that it would cause confusion amongst the public, if any company acted independently. The Government’s coronavirus policy would effectively be ignored.
Wetherspoons Look to June Opening
Earlier this week, Wetherspoon told its investors that it plans to reopen for business “in or around June”.
The pub chain also said that it is considering taking a government backed loan of up to £50 million. Yet there has been no outline of how this would happen.
Plans have not been put into place of how the company would get around lockdown still being in place. All of the company’s 850 UK pubs were closed in March, once the coronavirus lockdown restrictions were announced.
Wetherspoon Chief in Backlash Over Actions
Company chairman Tim Martin has faced huge criticism, due to his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a video released in March, Martin told his 43,000 staff that they were free to take jobs. Other retailers such as Tesco’s could be taking on more staff he informed them.
This prompted 95 MP’s to sign a petition to try and force Martin to pay his staff. Subsequently Wetherspoons confirmed that it would pay its staff. And was waiting for the government furlough scheme to be rolled out. Martin has previously been vocal in his support of Boris Johnson and Brexit.
Pubs Face Uncertain Future
It has been hinted by the government that pubs may not reopen until Christmas. All hospitality industries face significant headwinds in the current climate. As customers are often in close proximity to each other. Even when pubs do reopen, its likely that they will have to operate under capacity. Leaving the pub industry have to face an even longer period of financial pressure.