Scottish Daily Mail
We’ve got lockdown by stealth, says Martin
WETHERSPOONS’ boss has accused ministers of imposing ‘lockdown by stealth’ amid warnings the tier system will close four in five pubs.
The new rules – which are tougher than before – come into force on December 2 when the Englandwide lockdown ends.
But pub groups have warned the restrictions will ‘ cause carnage’, with Wetherspoons’ founder Tim Martin saying his firm would be forced to shut 366 of its 879 pubs.
Martin, an outspoken critic of coronavirus curbs, said yesterday: ‘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.’
Last month Wetherpoons recorded its first annual loss since 1984.
And Martin claimed there is ‘no evidence of widespread transmission of the virus in pubs’.
The latest edition of the pub business’s in-house magazine Wetherspoons News accuses politicians of becoming ‘ disciples of failed forecasters’ and scientists of stoking ‘project fear’.
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty was criticised for telling MPs that a ‘significant proportion’ of exposure to the virus happened at hospitality venues – based on data from just 98 pubs and 67 cafes and restaurants.
But the British Beer and Pub Association says the new Tier Two and Three restrictions coming into effect on Wednesday will render 30,000 pubs ‘unviable’.
The organisation s ai d t his i ncluded 16,454 i n Tier Three regions that will be forced to remain shut as a matter of course.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: ‘ We cannot overstate how serious the situation is.’