Greene King 'to close 25 pubs for good putting 800 jobs at risk'

7 October 2020, 13:08 | Updated: 7 October 2020, 14:47

Greene King are understood to be making dozens of permanent closures
Greene King are understood to be making dozens of permanent closures. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

One of Britain's biggest pub chains is to close at least 25 venues, putting 800 jobs at risk, it has been reported.

It is understood the 10pm curfew has hit the hospitality chain's business as drinkers are expected to be out the venue by that time each evening.

According to Sky News, 79 pubs out of their 1,700 will close - with 25 of them being permanent closures.

800 staff are currently in redundancy talks.

The chain currently employs 38,000 people, and it is hoped as many as possible will be redeployed where possible.

Greene King's chief executive, Nick Mackenzie, has recently commented on the 10pm curfew, claiming it 'unfairly targets' pubs when they are not a large spreader of coronavirus.

He said: "The industry is still dealing with the crippling aftereffects of the nationwide lockdown and the cumulative effect of the new restrictions, combined with the singling out of pubs, mean the measures announced by the chancellor don't go far enough, especially for drink-led city centre pubs.

"With Public Health England figures showing only 5% of all outbreaks are linked to hospitality, it feels like pubs are being unfairly targeted when there is little evidence that they enable the spread of Covid-19."

A spokeswoman for Greene King said: "The continued tightening of the trading restrictions for pubs, which may last another six months, along with the changes to Government support was always going to make it a challenge to reopen some of our pubs.

"Therefore, we have made the difficult decision not to reopen 79 sites, including the 11 Loch Fyne restaurants we announced last week.

"Around one-third will be closed permanently and we hope to be able to reopen the others in the future.

"We are working hard with our teams to try and find them a role in another of our pubs wherever possible.

"We urgently need the Government to step in and provide tailored support to help the sector get through to the spring and prevent further pub closures and job losses."

The announcement comes after warnings from pub, restaurant and bar bosses that the curfew and other restrictions will result in swathes of job losses across the sector.

Last week, the boss of rival Fuller's said that around a tenth of its almost-5,000 employees could face redundancy without further state support.

The bosses of London-focused groups Young's and City Pub Group also warned that they might have to axe hundreds of roles when furlough ends later this month.
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