JD Wetherspoon Plans To Open Pubs In June

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has announced plans to start re-open its pubs and hotels ‘in or around June’.

Tim Martin was forced to close all 900 pubs and furlough 40,000 staff before Britain went on lockdown.

He was among the last on the High Street to close on March 20, just three days before a shutdown was imposed by law.

“The coronavirus outbreak is having a severe impact on the UK pub sector,” said Mr Martin.

“In these challenging times I would like to thank everyone at the company, its suppliers, landlords, banks and the government for their support and commitment. We’ve had to take significant action to reduce costs, decisions which have not been taken lightly.

“We look forward to re‐opening our pubs and hotels and welcoming back our teams in the near future.”

Wetherspoons said earlier this week that it has furloughed 99% of its workforce, and added that it had been able to slash overheads, maintenance costs and capital expenditure, as well as deferring a majority of rental payments due in March and deferring tax payments.

However, Wetherspoons is still looking at a bill of about £3m a month during the lockdown in order to cover topping up employee salaries and interest on existing loans.

The chain is however eligible for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and says it is considering applying for a loan.

New pub openings have been put on hold and are not expected to restart until 2022, with around five a year from then.

Mr Martin’s firm also revealed it has paid suppliers due at the end of March, with 83% paid in full and extended payment terms agreed with a number of larger suppliers.