Wednesday 7 October 2020 12:56 pm

Greene King to close pubs as 10pm curfew cripples sales

Pub chain Greene King is preparing to permanently close 26 sites, putting hundreds of jobs at risk of redundancy, due to a sharp drop in sales exacerbated by the 10pm curfew on hospitality venues.

It has launched a consultation process with 800 employees over the potential job cuts, Sky News reported. 

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The company is seeking to redeploy as many of the affected members of staff as possible throughout its estate.

In total 79 of the chain’s pubs and restaurants will close, with one third of those closures expected to be permanent. 

City A.M. understands that some central London sites will remain closed, although the company is hoping to reopen them in the future.

Greene King urged the government to provide sector specific support for the pub industry, warning further closures and job losses could be on the horizon without extra help.

Labour leader Keir Starmer today called on the government to review its 10pm curfew onthe hospitality sector.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions Starmer said that parliament and the public “deserves to know” if there is a scientific basis for the rule.

MPs are preparing to vote on the curfew next week.

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls last week told the Treasury Committee that the introduction of recent restricitions meant she would need to revise up a previous forecast of 560,000 job losses.

A spokesperson for Greene King said: “The continued tightening of the trading restrictions for pubs, which may last another six months, along with the changes to government support was always going to make it a challenge to reopen some of our pubs.

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“Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to close 26 sites permanently and not reopen a further 53 pubs for now. We are working hard with our teams to try and find them a role in another of our pubs wherever possible.

“We urgently need the government to step in and provide tailored support to help the sector get through to the spring and prevent further pub closures and job losses.”