Wetherspoon boss says all furloughed staff to be brought back as he slams pub lockdown
Wetherspoon’s Tim Martin to bring back ‘all’ furloughed staff
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During an interview with Sky News, JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin insisted the pub chain plans to bring back all staff currently furloughed once coronavirus lockdown measures are eased and pubs are able to re-open. The founder of the leading UK pub chain made the announcement amid calls for pubs and restaurants to be allowed to re-open by Easter. Originally the Government intended for pubs and restaurant to resume trading in May, with takeaway drinks being permitted from April.
Quizzed on Sky News regarding his plans to bring staff back once lockdown measures are lifted, Mr Martin was asked how many workers would be returning in total.
“All of them,” was his response.
“Well, there were 40,000 when we closed down a year ago, there are over 37,000 now
“So we would hope they can all come back,” explained the businessman.
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The Wetherspoon boss however took aim at the Government for the strict rules applied to the hospitality sector, warning the industry “will be unprofitable” unless measures are put in place to revitalise it after re-opening.
Mr Martin’s announcement came as the Deputy Chairman of the Covid Recovery Group Steve Baker called for all lockdown restrictions on the hospitality industry to be lifted by May.
His intervention comes as the Government has offered a vaccine to the top four priority groups – roughly 15 million people.
Mr Baker told talkRADIO, host Julia Hartley-Brewer on Monday: “By the time we get to Easter we’ll have vaccinated about two-thirds of groups, one to nine, and by the end of April we should have completed groups one to nine that includes people under the age of 50, who are vulnerable to disease.
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“So we think it’s reasonable to ask for all schools returning back on March 8 and for ministers to then have restrictions which are proportionate to the harm that COVID-19 is then capable of doing.”
He continued: “Of course, Easter is a very big deal for the hospitality sectors and restaurants and pubs having invested in being COVID secure, we think that we should be, as we cast our minds forward seven weeks, we think we should be looking at Easter for pubs and restaurants and hospitality venues being able to open.
“And then by the time we get to the end of April, and the vulnerable have been vaccinated, accounting for 99 percent of those who so far have died in this crisis.
“We think that’s the point of which really is very difficult to justify, that’s impossible to justify further legislative restrictions on people’s lives.
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“Because the vulnerable will have been vaccinated, at which point really that those restrictions should come off and people should be able to get on with living their lives, knowing that others are safe.”
The COVID Recovery Group are an organisation within the Conservative Party made up of MPs who oppose the Government’s lockdown measures.
The group have been pressuring the Government to lift restrictions and has the backing of around 60 MPs.
Over 15 million people have been vaccinated with their first dose in the UK, according to the latest government data.
The Government is now beginning to roll out phase two of the programme which will target everyone over-50 and anyone with underlying health conditions above the age of 16.
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