The deputy chief medical officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, has ruled out re-opening of beer gardens in the near future. But it appears that the much-loved pub chain have other plans, with the company setting targets to pull pints again within the next month.
JD Wetherspoons saw the closure of 874 pubs after the Government declared no social venues were allowed to function after the 20th March. This was done in a bid to maintain social distancing measures throughout lockdown. But whilst many other pubs were keen to follow Government guidelines, Tim Martin disagreed with the decision. He believed that closing pubs, bars and restaurants would not significantly reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Wetherspoons believe that they will be able to maintain social distancing measures once lockdown restrictions are lifted, stating that "Wetherspoons pubs are substantially larger than average, and most have outside facilities". However, the chain accept that business won’t initially boom with a "gradual recovery in customers numbers".
Alongside this, the popular pub service has prepared for like – for – like sales to be 10% below average after re-opening for the first month, set to slowly increase by 2% each month.
Whilst the profits may have a significant difference to last year’s figures, it is evident the chain are keen start serving again, despite the backlash during pre-lockdown.
Leading up to lockdown, 43,000 staff were told they would have to be paid by the furlough scheme initiated by the government. Criticism, however, then led to the creation of a reimbursement scheme founded by the company, which also saw group senior executive take 50% pay cuts.
Whilst there are many mixed views surrounding the potential re-opening of the chain, it is clear that confirmation from Government guidelines will be necessary before any sort of social venues are given the all go to open again.