Wetherspoon to open 60 pubs in Scotland from 26 April

Saleha Riaz
·2 min read
Fresh beer filling the glass directly from the tap.  With extra foam spilling over glass.
Hospitality has been one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon (JDW.L) said on Wednesday it will open 60 of its pubs in Scotland from 26 April, along with seven hotels.

The news comes as first minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland's "stay at home" order — in place since December — will be lifted on 2 April.

The reopening of hairdressers and some shops will be phased in from 5 April, with restrictions expected to be significantly reduced from 26 April.

"In accordance with Scottish government rules the pubs will serve food and non-alcoholic drinks inside the pubs and the pubs will also be able to serve alcohol (without the requirement for a meal) in external areas" Wetherspoon said.

Regional manager for Scotland, Helen Dumbreck, said “our pubs play an important part in the social life of their respective towns and cities and it is great news that they will be able to reopen soon," adding that each pub will observe necessary safety rules for COVID-19.

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READ MORE: JD Wetherspoon to reopen pub gardens from 12 April

Wetherspoon, which operates some 872 pubs and 55 hotels in the UK and Ireland, had earlier said it is set to open its outdoor spaces, including beer gardens, rooftop gardens and patios, at 394 of its pubs in England from 12 April.

The announcement came after UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced that retailers and outdoor hospitality venues may reopen from 12 April in England, as he set out his long-awaited "roadmap" out of lockdown.

Hospitality has been one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic. In November, an industry poll indicated three quarters of UK pubs and restaurants expected to shut permanently in 2021.

Earlier, Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin asked the government to reopen pubs at the same time as non-essential shops.

In a statement, the pub tycoon had said that the industry is "on its knees" and that reopening would save jobs.

Alongside the plea, Martin also told Sky News that he intended to bring back the 37,000 staff that are currently on furlough as soon as the chain gets the go-ahead to reopen.

He had said that the pub industry makes a massive contribution to the economy, and Wetherspoon alone pays about £10 ($13.90) of tax for every pound of profit it makes.

Industry groups UK Hospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association have also joined these calls, showing evidence that they say proves pubs and restaurants are COVID-secure environments.

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