JD Wetherspoon PLC (LON:JDW) said 315 of its pubs will stay shut due to the tiered coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions announced for England by the government yesterday.
In total, 366 pubs will remain closed of which most are in Tier-3 zones in England and 51 in Northern Ireland and Scotland, said the FTSE 250 group.
The government has said that everywhere in England bar Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and Wight will be in the highest risk Tier-2 and Tier-3 categories when the national lockdown ends next Wednesday.
Opening just for takeaways, which is one of the Tier-3 rules, is ‘unlikely to be a realistic proposition’ said the pub chain.
Wetherspoons noted that it has 435 pubs in Tier-2 areas which will open, including 17 pubs in Scotland.
A further 13 pubs in England are classified as Tier-1 with a further 51 in Wales under an approximate low-risk classification.
In a statement, Tim Martin, Wetherspoon’s founder and chairman, said: “The company has campaigned for pubs to revert to the rules agreed between the pub industry, civil servants, local authorities and health officials, which were introduced when pubs reopened in July.
“These rules greatly reduced pub capacity and provided strict social distancing and hygiene standards but, with difficultly, allowed pubs to trade viably. It is very disappointing that yet another raft of regulations has been introduced, which has effectively closed half our pubs.
“In reality, the government has extended a form of lockdown, by stealth, in large swathes of the country.”
Martin added that there was no evidence about the transmission of the coronavirus in pubs.