Pub and restaurant chain, Greene King, has announced that they will be closing 79 sites across the UK. It is expected that around third of these will be permanent closures. The decision will mean around 800 redundancies for the company which currently employs approximately 38,000 people. The company said that they are hoping to redeploy staff wherever possible. It is believed that 11 of the chain’s Loche Finn restaurants are among the 25 permanent closures. A full list of the closures will not be made available until after consultation with employees. Although, it is hoped that many of the current staff will be able to be redistributed to venues which will remain open.
The national lockdown in March, new 10 pm closing times and the end of the government furlough scheme are all thought to be contributing factors to the move. Nick Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Greene King, said “The industry is still dealing with the crippling after-effects of the nationwide lockdown and the cumulative effect of the new restrictions, combined with the singling out of pubs, means 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.”
This latest news goes to show the immense strain that the hospitality sector is currently under. Recent announcements of further potential restrictions will definitely be a concern for businesses. The industry body, UK Hospitality, warned that up to half a million jobs could be lost before Christmas without Government help. Fullers, Young’s and City Pub Group are among other large chains who have warned that they may need to consider redundancies in the coming months without sufficient stimulus from the government.