Pub operator Marston's has launched consultations on up to 2,150 job losses, saying that new UK coronavirus restrictions have forced its hand after months of progress in reopening hundreds of its pubs.
The company said that all of the employees concerned are on furlough, but are likely to be affected as it starts a full cost review to see out the latest curbs, which began this week in Liverpool and are likely to be extended to other UK regions.
"The introduction of these further restrictions and guidance affecting pubs is hugely disappointing in view of a lack of clear evidence tying pubs to the recent increase in infection levels," the company said.
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Pubs, restaurants and other leisure businesses were ordered to close at 10 p.m. in restrictions put in place across the whole of England last month, but the government has imposed a new three-tier system that requires pubs and bars to close in areas in the "very high" alert level.
London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, warned on Wednesday October 14 that the capital is likely to face tighter restrictions this week.
The big chains have made progress since pubs were allowed to reopen in July, and Marston's said that 99% of its 1,350 pubs have opened, with like-for-like sales averaging 90% of last year's levels.
The company, which has 21 pubs in Scotland and 18 in the Liverpool area, has already scrapped its dividend and said that it needs more funding to navigate through the crisis.
Share Value And Groups Sales
Shares in Marston's fell by 2.5% to 43.7 pence by 0705 GMT on Thursday October 15 and are down by 66% this year.
Group sales for the year to October 3 were down by 30% to £821 million.