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Wetherspoon chief criticises Government’s ‘reckless decisions’ on Covid-19

Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent
·2-min read

The chairman of pub chain Wetherspoon has accused the Government of making “reckless decisions” in its Covid-19 policies.

Tim Martin said it was a “fallacy” that pubs will reopen on Wednesday when the current lockdown ends.

He accused the Government of effectively closing all pubs in England “by stealth”, possibly for the first time in history.

He has written to all MPs claiming there was a lack of candour from the Government.

Mr Martin said: “A pub licence, unlike a restaurant licence, allows you to sell beer, wine and spirits ‘for consumption on the premises’, without a table meal – and this is now prohibited.

“The reality is that pubs in Tier 3 will be physically shut from December 2 and pubs in Tier 2, if they open at all, will be trading as restaurants, not pubs.

“There are only a tiny number of pubs in Tier 1- and in those you can’t even order at the bar.”

People drinking at a bar
Tim Martin challenged the idea that pubs will be open again after December 2 (Danny Lawson/PA)

He said the Government was making “reckless decisions”, with MPs only having an occasional opportunity to intervene.

“There is overwhelming scientific evidence that lockdowns and quasi-lockdowns can be counterproductive, as the World Health Organisation has recently emphasised.

“The Government has spent around £350 billion on lockdowns so far – around three times what is spent annually on the health service. That expenditure will continue at about £6 billion a week for the indefinite future.

“I am hopeful that MPs will see that the Government is embarking on economically ruinous policies, with no health benefits.

“Pubs have invested tens of millions of pound to make them safe, in accordance with regulations devised by the Government, local authorities and health officials.”

The test and trace results showed there has been very little transfer of the virus in pubs and restaurants, he added.