Greene King is to close 25 sites permanently as the 10pm curfew hurts industry sales
One of Britain’s largest pub operators, Greene King, is currently preparing to close dozens of their venues across the country cutting hundreds of jobs following a decrease in trade that has been exacerbated by the government’s 10pm curfew for the hospitality industry.
Sources close to Greene King, which has an estate of almost 1,700 managed pubs and 1,000 tenanted venues throughout the UK, has said that it would seek to redeploy the members of staff that have been affected wherever possible, despite the continuing coronavirus crisis.
In total, 79 of pubs and restaurants under the Greene King banner will close, with around one-third of the closures expected to have a permanent effect.
This comes after top scientists have been calling for a herd immunity approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK by allowing people who are less vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus to return to normal life.
These redundancies represent a small fraction of Greene King’s 38,000-employee workforce but underlines the anxiety of many other employers as the government’s furlough scheme begins to near its end.
The latest round of cuts across the hospitality sector underline the enormous financial toll being taken on an industry that is among Britain’s largest employers.
Some of the country’s best-known restaurant chains have already been forced into insolvency processes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, while the industry association UK Hospitality has forecast that hundreds of thousands of jobs will disappear before Christmas without additional government support.
In a recent statement, Nick Mackenzie, Greene King’s chief executive, said:
“The industry is still dealing with the crippling aftereffects of the nationwide lockdown”
“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.”
This comes after Nottingham City Council has been urging people within the city to follow stricter guidelines as the number of COVID-19 cases at universities within the region continues to rise.
“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.”