‘Baffling and confusing’: Wetherspoon boss on lockdown as pub chain faces £14 million losses

Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoon has lashed out at coronavirus restrictions. Pic: EDP

Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoon has lashed out at coronavirus restrictions. Pic: EDP - Credit: Archant

Wetherspoon chief Tim Martin has lashed out at the latest Covid restrictions as he revealed a nose-dive in sales.

Tim Martin’s latest attack on the government measures came as Wetherspoon reported a 27.6pc plunge in first-quarter sales for the 15 weeks to November 8 following the introduction, prior to lockdown, of the 10pm curfew.

He added it wouold burn through around £14 million while its pubs are forced to close in the second lockdown.

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Mr Martin, who is chairman of Wetherspoon, said: “For any pub or restaurant company trading in different parts of the UK, and for customers generally, the constantly changing national and local regulations, combined with geographical areas moving from one tier to another in the different jurisdictions, are baffling and confusing.

“The entire regulatory situation is a complete muddle.”

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The benefits of the tougher restrictions since late September - including the curfew, table service and mandatory use of face masks when moving around pubs - are “questionable”, according to the outspoken pub chief.

He added that the sector was concerned about how long the temporary regulations would remain in place, citing that afternoon closing of pubs introduced in the First World War was only abolished in 1986.

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Wetherspoon has 756 pubs, including dozens across Norfolk and Waveney, currently closed across England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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