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Pub company Greene King has announced plans to axe around 800 jobs and shut 79 of its pubs after business declined due to the introduction of 10pm hospitality curfew.
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.”
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The UK's largest pub retailer and brewer runs about 1,700 managed pubs and 1,000 tenanted venues across the UK. The company said they are “working hard with our teams to try and find them a role in another of our pubs wherever possible.”
Greene King called on 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.”
UK prime minister Boris Johnson faced a barrage of warnings over the threat to firms and jobs after he unveiled fresh COVID-19 measures for England including a 10pm shutdown for hospitality venues.
UK pub owners expressed their anger with the government, as more than 1,000 publicans signed an open letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak pleading for more support and urging the government to rethink the 10pm curfew.
In the letter organised by grassroots organisation Campaign for Pubs, pub owners accused Sunak of “scapegoating pubs” and “ignoring the needs of pubs, publicans, staff and their families” in his Winter Economy Plan.
Business leaders have called for more support for hospitality firms facing fresh restrictions and dashed expectations of recovery on top of months of unprecedented disruption.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the UKHospitality trade body, warned: “These restrictions are a further, potentially fatal, blow for many hospitality businesses. In isolation, they may appear moderate, but the cumulative effect is going to be hugely damaging.”
Tom Stainer, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), dubbed the pub curfew “arbitrary,” saying it punished firms complying with guidelines.
“Make no mistake about this — without a proper financial support package, communities will lose their local forever, people will lose their jobs, and publicans their livelihoods.”
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