Pub chain Wetherspoon’s said it plans to reopen its bars and hotels in June, as founder Tim Martin revealed the extent of the carnage caused to the business due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Plans have started and bosses said they hope to benefit from the chain having typically larger pubs than its rivals. In an after-hours stock market announcement, the business said: “The company is likely to make some changes to its operating model, assuming increased social distancing, and anticipates a gradual recovery in customer numbers.”
Responding to the announcement Greater Manchester’s Nighttime Czar Sacha Lord said:
“While I understand the urgency and desire of those in the hospitality sector to return to normality, we have to ensure the safety of customers, staff and the public remains the first priority. All operators have a duty of care, and the decision to reopen is not something that can or should be rushed. The advice of the Government must be adhered to, and at present, it’s clear that while things are looking hopeful, we are still in the peak of this pandemic.
I’m disappointed to see that Wetherspoons have publicly announced the potential opening of their venues so soon. I wait to hear the exact details of the plans but I hope there will be adequate measures in place to ensure the guidelines are adhered to, whether that is through social distancing or one in one out policies.
As one of the hardest hit, the hospitality sector must work together to battle through this pandemic. A ‘first across the line approach’ is not in this spirit, and I fear this decision will create unnecessary pressure on others to follow suit. We need to ensure that as a nation we are best placed to reopen. This a decision that can only be made by the Government and not the individual operators themselves, so as to limit the possibility of a second wave and our industry needing a second lockdown later down the line.”