Closures and postponements – Greene King to close central London pubs

By Alice Leader

- Last updated on GMT

Behind closed doors: The Morning Advertiser gives live updates of the current closures to counteract the spread of coronavirus
Behind closed doors: The Morning Advertiser gives live updates of the current closures to counteract the spread of coronavirus

Related tags Coronavirus Closure

Many operations are being forced to close or scale back business after Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the public not to visit the on-trade despite not declaring sites should go into lockdown.

March 20, 17.07 – Greene King to close central London pubs

Greene King has announced “with great sadness”, the temporary closure of its pubs in central London.

The company’s 111 managed pubs in the city centre will close their doors at 9pm on Saturday 21 March until further notice.

Greene King CEO Nick Mackenzie said: “It’s with great sadness for all of us at Greene King, especially our teams in London, that we are closing our pubs in ‘zone one’. At the current time, we believe this is the right thing to do.

“I’d like to thank our team members who have been doing a great job over recent weeks under increasingly challenging circumstances.”

“We have committed to pay all team members until 5 April and continue to call on the Government to provide much-needed support to protect jobs and the great British pub.

“Pubs are at the heart of communities and we know that, for some people, a visit to the pub is the only contact they will have with others that day. 

“We will be continuing with a takeaway service and Deliveroo from some Greene King pubs and all our Metropolitan Pubs, and are looking to expand this service over the coming weeks.

“We don’t know how long we’ll be closed for, but will be ready to reopen and welcome back our customers as soon as we can.”

March 20, 16.11 - By The River Brew Co closes until further notice 

The brewery has announced today “with the utmost regret” that its doors will close until further notice.

The announcement on its website read: “Without clear and precise leadership from those that are in positions of high office, we are left unable to be of service to you.

“We have been put in the totally uncomfortable position whereby, while social distancing is being vigorously recommended (and for very good reason), no direct instruction is being given to those in the hospitality sector.

“It’s like being told not to drink milk but failing to tell the milkman not to deliver, it’s like being told not to take a taxi but taxis are sitting idle on the street, it’s like being told not to get a haircut but the hairdresser/barber is still open and the lights are on.

“We absolutely adore being of service to you, for now, however, we must withdraw.”

March 20, 14.23 – Fuller’s makes “the toughest decision”

Fuller, Smith & Turner is another to make the difficult decision to close its entire managed pubs and hotels estate, as from Monday, until further notice.

Fuller, Smith & Turner chief executive Simon Emeny said: “As we navigate these difficult times, we promise our teams that we will be fair to our people, while protecting our business for the long term.

“We do not know how long these measures will last but, when the time comes, our pubs and the teams in those pubs, will be ready, waiting and delighted to serve our customers and our communities.”

March 20, 12.15 – London Wine Fair 2020 postponed

Hemming Group has announced that with “a heavy heart”, it is postponing the “much-loved” London Wine Fair 2020.

The company argued that while the outbreak of Covid-19 is putting “immense pressure” on the events, drinks and hospitality industry, the safety of their exhibitors, visitors, sponsors and suppliers and in-house team “takes over-riding precedence in the bigger picture”.

Its announcement read: “It remains inconclusive as to when, or for how long, the Government might place restrictions on mass gatherings in the UK. Nonetheless, the London Wine Fair team has taken the difficult decision to postpone this much-loved event.

“Experience dictates that the bulk of organising for exhibitors and sponsors happens between now and the event. Our objective in taking this decision with two months’ lead time, is to minimise unnecessary expenditure and stress caused by uncertainty.

“We plan to release more information about the next steps for London Wine Fair as soon as possible. Given the exceptional circumstances and elevated number of stakeholders to consider, we would ask for your patience in the interim period.”

March 20, 11.11 – Brewhouse & Kitchen closes ‘to protect amazing team’

Co-founders of Brewhouse & Kitchen have made the “incredibly difficult decision” to temporarily close.

Amid the developing situation surrounding the outbreak of Covid-19, the Government advice to avoid social venues has made it “too difficult” for the operator to continue trading.

Co-founders Kris Gumbrell and Simon Bunn said: “We are currently doing everything we can to protect our amazing team during what may be a prolonged period of closure.

“We are looking at ways we can innovate and pivot our offer so we can trade in some capacity, and serve our loyal guests, so keep an eye out for some options for takeaway beer and pub food classics.

“The most important thing right now is for everyone to take care of themselves and their loved ones, and to follow the latest Government advice.

“We look forward to welcoming you back for the ‘mother of all parties’ once this difficult period is over.”

March 19, 16.43 – The Botanist temporarily closes

New World Trading Company brand The Botanist has announced a temporary closure, but assures customers it will be back "as soon as we can".

The announcement on the company's website read: "The Botanist is [for] everyone; from our loyal guests, to our hardworking teams and our loving communities.

"You have all contributed to what the Botanist is today and for this reason, the safety, wellbeing and health of everyone is at the heart of this extremely tough decision. 

"We will miss you during this time, and for now, we will continue to keep our community together online @TheBotanistUK. 

"We thank you for your loyalty and continued support. Please stay safe, look after one another and we will see you again very soon."

March 19, 13.43 – Inception Group makes “inevitable” decision to close all venues

Publican Awards 2020 winner for Best Late Night Operator, Inception Group, has made the “difficult but inevitable” decision to close all 11 venues until further notice.

Given the Government’s advice to withdraw from all non-essential social contact and travel, and to work from home, Inception Group felt there was little choice but to close.

Inception Group co-founder Charlie Gilkes said: “This is a truly horrible situation that nobody could have predicted or prepared for and it feels like a bad dream. We are in the middle of a once-in-a-generation health crisis and, of course, the safety of everyone, especially the most vulnerable, has to be the primary focus.

“Sadly, necessary social distancing measures mean the hospitality industry has been hit hard, but it has also shown the country what a huge employer and contributor to the economy we are as a sector. It has also been heartening to see the industry rally together to try and help one another and put pressure on the Government.

“We remain hopeful there will be a Treasury announcement about some form of underwriting of staff wages during this tricky period, and are very grateful for Kate Nicholls and UKHospitality for everything they are doing to provide a unified voice.

“We are trying to stay positive and send as much hope and goodwill through our #HopeForHospitality campaign and, for now, our focus is on trying to save as many jobs as we possibly can in the circumstances.

“So much rests on the length of the closures, which seems to be the great unknown. We will use this time to brainstorm, plan and return even stronger to be able to deliver on our mission statement of ‘providing unique and memorable experiences’.”

March 19, 13.10 – North West Young Chef competition postponed

The North West Young Chef of the Year organisers have taken the decision to postpone the 20th edition of the competition as a way of protecting the safety and wellbeing of chef competitors and all related stakeholders amid the outbreak of Covid-19.

The competition, held in association with Essential Cuisine, Sous Vide Tools, CHR Equipment and hospitality training provider CPL Online, was to stage three semi-finals between 25 March and 1 April with a final set for 13 May.

Chairman of the judging panel Brian Mellor met with the organising team yesterday, where they took the “heart-breaking” decision to postpone to the autumn. 

Mellor said: “This decision has been taken jointly and was made in the interests of the health and safety of everyone involved. We know this will come as a blow to our young contestants – 2020 was a record-breaking year for entries – but we feel it’s the absolute right thing to do.

“I want to reassure each semi-finalist that, once we are in a position to go again, your place stands and will be honoured. We will see you shine in the bright spotlight of this competition very soon. I very much look forward to that day, and would like to thank everyone – chefs, judges, sponsors, mentors – for their support at this difficult and unprecedented time.”  

New dates will be announced in the coming weeks.  

March 19, 10.02 – Brasserie Bar Co closes with ‘great sadness’

Brasserie Bar Co has declared “with great sadness”, the closure for all its Brasserie Blanc and White Brasserie Company sites until further notice.

The company said felt it had to close after taking the advice offered by Government and keeping the wellbeing of its guests and team as a top priority.

A statement on its website read: “We have a strong business and we have strategies in place to get us through this crisis and out the other side so we look forward to being back as and when, the time is right. Wishing you well, stay safe.”

March 19, 09.27 – Darwin & Wallace shuts bars until further notice

Darwin & Wallace has announced the decision to temporarily close all its bars as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Founder and managing director Mel Marriot said on the company’s website: “For everyone that has tables booked over the next few weeks, we will be in touch directly to reschedule. 

“Please take care, thank you for all of your support, we look forward to seeing you soon.”

March 18, 16.38 – ​Top 50 Gastropubs 2020 winner closes ‘for the foreseeable future’

The Harwood Arms, in south-west London, has announced it has been forced to make the “incredibly difficult” decision to close for the “foreseeable future”.

The pub enjoyed a great start to the year – being named number one in this year’s Top 50 Gastropubs list, but has now had to close as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Head chef Sally Abé posted on her Instagram page: “There is nothing more important to us than safety of the public, our guests, and our staff. We are doing absolutely everything we possibly can to support our team, who are like family.

“We send all of our love to our fellow operators, and the entire hospitality industry, which is facing an unprecedented challenge. We are all in this together.

“We hope everyone stays safe and healthy, and we look forward to the day we can open our doors to you all and tuck into a Scotch egg.”

March 18, 12.53 – Hawksmoor temporarily shuts all doors

As of today, the high-end restaurant chain Hawksmoor has felt obligated to make the “most difficult decision we have ever made” by temporarily closing its eateries in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The owners, Will Beckett and Huw Gott, made the announcement yesterday in respect of public health and their responsibilities to protect the elderly and vulnerable.

While the Government hasn’t forced the industry to close its doors, the owners felt that this was what the Government was advising.

In their statement, the owners said: “This enables us to make sure that Hawksmoor survives – not because of money or profit – but in order for the thing that we have all spent much of our professional lives building can go back to being a place where we can look after as many staff and customers as possible for years to come.”

The company also announced it had to end the employment of some of its “wonderful” staff.

But it explained how it had tried to treat them as “fairly as possible”, paying full notice and giving guidance on future support during these uncertain times.

The duo added: “We hope that the Government steps in as promised to provide the safety net that so many people desperately need.”

March 17 – The Dog Inn shuts ‘with a heavy heart’

A pub in Blackburn, Lancashire, has taken the decision to close its restaurant until further notice after a large amount of cancellations and staff illness meant staying open was not an option. 

The Dog Inn at Belthorn team post on its Facebook read: “Mark and myself have not taken this decision lightly and will do everything in our power to reopen as soon as possible, however, the safety of our staff and customers is paramount.

“Our Italian Job​-themed night will therefore be postponed until a future date, however, anybody who would prefer a refund can email us at reservations@thedoginnatbelthorn.net.

“We wish everyone to stay safe and we hope to see you soon. Thank you for understanding.”

March 17 – ​The Bevy closes

The Bevy pub, in Brighton, East Sussex, made the decision to close the pub to protect its staff and customers from the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The pub was set up five years ago and became a “community centre with a whole host of activities for everyone”.

However, amid the threat the virus holds on vulnerable people in the community, the pub has been closed.

A statement on its website read: “We know the pub is a lifeline for many vulnerable and isolated people in the local area and we know that now is the time for us, as a community pub, to step up. We are reallocating our staff time to focus on what we can do.

“We are speaking to the large number of local organisations we work with to find safe ways to support people and to keep in touch to make sure they have what they need, especially if people are forced to self-isolate. 

“While physical distance is important to prevent the spread, there is no doubt we need some form of social connection more than ever.”

March 17 – Tom Kerridge announces postponement of Pub in the Park

Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge has announced that this year’s Pub in the Park festival is being rescheduled amid the coronavirus outbreak.

This is the fourth year of the popular food, drink and music festival and was due to take place in May at Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

But, it has been confirmed the first date will now be in Chichester, West Sussex, on 14 August, with a venue still be confirmed.

Kerridge said: “We would like to thank the chefs, restaurants, venues, local authorities, artists and many of our other contributors who have shown their unwavering support of Pub in the Park to enable us to rearrange our plans. In the meantime, we want you all to keep healthy and look after each other.”

The vast majority of the music, including headline acts, chef and restaurant line-ups will remain the same. Any minor alterations will be announced in due course. 

All FAQs and other information can be found on its website.

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