1% of JDW staff tested positive for coronavirus

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Critic: JDW boss Tim Martin criticises Government's approach to coronavirus
Critic: JDW boss Tim Martin criticises Government's approach to coronavirus

Related tags: Jd wetherspoon, Tim martin, Pubco, Coronavirus

Just 1% of JD Wetherspoon’s 43,000 employees have tested positive for coronavirus since pubs reopened, boss Tim Martin said in the company’s delayed financial results today.

Despite seeing near 46m customers visit the pubco’s 872 sites, very few staff (429) had tested positive for the virus, claimed Martin.

The majority of those that did test positive had, according to the results, contracted the virus outside of work.

While the virus appears to have had a limited impact on staff, it has severely hit the company’s financials.

JDW has suffered a £105m loss in sales from £1.82bn to £1.26bn for the year ending 26 July 2020.

Handling of the coronavirus

Martin also lashed out at the Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and urged the country’s leaders to adopt the Swedish style whereby hygiene, social distancing and trust in people is used to combat the spread.

Following which he criticised the science behind the Government’s actions and said in a statement: “For the two months following the reopening [of pubs], it appeared the hospitality industry, in difficult circumstances, was adapting to the new régime and was getting ‘back on its feet’, albeit in survival mode.

“It appears that the Government and its advisers were clearly uncomfortable as the country emerged from lockdown.

“They have introduced, without consultation, under emergency powers, an ever-changing raft of ill-thought-out regulations – these are extraordinarily difficult for the public and publicans to understand and to implement.

“None of the new regulations appears to have any obvious basis in science.”

Martin’s criticism of the Government’s science follows a wider industry campaign aimed at cancelling the 10pm curfew, where industry leaders and The Morning Advertiser (MA) ​are urging others to use #CancelTheCurfew on social media and tag in MPs and the Prime Minister.

The added expense

Meanwhile, JDW’s boss Tim Martin also highlighted the added expense pubs had to endure as a result of Government rules and laws on the sector.

He said things like table services were expensive to put into place and questioned why it was acceptable for someone to go up to a till in a shop, but not in a pub.

Other rules such as the use of facemasks while moving around a venue but not while seated were also questioned by the boss.

However, his biggest gripe was the 10pm curfew, of which he said: “This has meant that many thousands of hospitality industry employees, striving to maintain hygiene and social distancing standards go off duty at 10pm, leaving people to socialise in homes and at private events which are, in reality, impossible to regulate.”

Again, he highlighted how the Swedish approach was consistent and placed an emphasis on three key points – hygiene, social distancing and trust – which had in turn reflected positively on the economy as well as public health.

Related topics: JD Wetherspoon

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