Major pub chain closes ‘indefinitely’ to ‘busiest’ people as boss trumps gov support and ‘mixed messages’ sent to punters

A MAJOR pub chain has closed “indefinitely” its busiest pubs with bosses trumpeting “poor” government support amid the chaos in Omicron.

Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller Smith and Turner, has quashed the “mixed messages” the government has sent to punters in the near term. Christmas.

Pubs and restaurants have faced widespread cancellations amid rising Covid cases


Pubs and restaurants have faced widespread cancellations amid rising Covid casesCredit: PA
Simon Emeny says his pub chain has closed its 20 busiest pubs for the foreseeable future


Simon Emeny says his pub chain has closed its 20 busiest pubs for the foreseeable futureCredit: Sky

Professor Chris Witty has urged people in the UK to prioritize social events that are “really important to them” as a record 93,000 Britons infected with coronavirus on Friday.

It means tens of thousands of Brits will be isolated this Christmas – and the rapid rise in cases has led to widespread cancellations in the hospitality industry.

Boris Johnson has accused of creating “keys by stealth” when millions of people stay home to save for their Christmas.

The boss said they had “no choice” but to close in a “double match” with ailing employees and customers staying away fearing their festival plans might be disrupted.

After a week of declining sales, Mr Emeny said his pub chain has now made the decision to close 20 of its busiest pubs for the foreseeable future.

He told Sky News: “Running a large number of units in central London, we are really facing this challenge of hospitality.

“Last night in the centre, it was very, very quiet. The reality in London is that our sales are now down between 60 and 80 per cent.

“As a result, we are shutting down 20 of our busiest sites indefinitely.”

Mr Emeny blasted the government’s “poor” response to the hotel industry’s struggles.

He said: “I think the response is pitiful and there’s very little financial support for anyone at the moment.

“The engagement with the field over the past three weeks has been very, very late – and very urgent.”

He said the “mixed messages” from the government on Omicron were “clearly not helpful” for the hotel industry.

Brother Christmas parties are still allowed although Plan B Covid restrictions have been put in place.


“It confuses customers and causes a lot of operational difficulties,” said Mr.

“But clearly the government is being given scientific advice and is trying to navigate this current crisis.

“However, the only way to deal with this, after giving those mixed messages to customers, is to financially support the sector.”

Mr Emeny added: “The country needs a vibrant hospitality sector out of this.

“My concern for everyone at the moment is the employees who won’t be working on Mondays, the people who have foster families over the Christmas period, the people who are working for companies that currently have zero revenue.

“Who will pay them? How will they pay their rent and how will they live in the coming weeks and months?”

It appeared in the context of British reports possibly indoor mixing is prohibited is being scheduled for a two-week lockdown after Christmas.

Angry MPs have called for Rishi Sunak cough up or watch the business go under.

Mr. Sunak returned earlier than planned after a business trip to California to hold intense talks with hotel owners.

Mr Emeny called on the government to provide “meaningful financial support” to the hospitality sector.

“Without meaningful financial support, I’m really worried for a lot of businesses about how they’re going to have to go through this,” he said.

Another lockdown would be catastrophic for the hospitality industry, with British Chambers of Commerce president Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith warning: “Businesses now face a two-punch combination of problems serious problems with staff absenteeism and a sharp drop in consumer confidence.”

The Prime Minister is expected to hold an emergency Covid Cobra meeting this weekend as officials consider proposals for circuit breakers – which will reportedly include a Forbidden to meet friends and family inside.

The cabinet is expected to be briefed on the latest Covid data later this afternoon, although not through a formal cabinet meeting, Sky News reports.

According to the broadcaster, the idea of ​​impending restrictions is being “mildly played down”, although officials are “concerned about the data”.


Ministers are preparing draft plans that would prevent Britons from meeting other people in their homes except for business purposes, Time report.

Pubs and restaurants will only be allowed to serve outdoors if the scheme is green-lit.

Other reports suggest Mr Johnson was presented with a range of options for ‘plan C’, from “gentle guide to motivating people, piercing to lock”.

Sage scientists are pessimistic told the Government tougher measures would be needed “very soon”.

Mr Johnson said a “significant wave” of cases was pouring in – but remained steadfastly based on tougher rules this Christmas.

“I have said that people should be cautious, but what we have also said is that people should decide what they want to do. It’s a matter of their personal choice,” he said.

“We’re not shutting everything down but we think people need to be cautious.”

It comes as the Prime Minister tells Britons to get their booster shot as soon as possible, after long lines were seen at vaccine centers around the country.

The Sun is also asking readers to subscribe to Jabs Army to make the rollout go as smooth and fast as possible.

An empty bar in London's Covent Garden


An empty bar in London’s Covent GardenCredit: PA
Ireland to close pubs and restaurants from 8pm to prevent the spread of Omicron Major pub chain closes ‘indefinitely’ to ‘busiest’ people as boss trumps gov support and ‘mixed messages’ sent to punters

Huynh Nguyen

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