Wetherspoon has revealed that it has had approximately 32m customer visits to its 861 open pubs in the 10 weeks since 4 July.
During the period, 66 out of the pub company’s 41,564 employees have tested positive for Covid-19 – 811 pubs have reported zero positive tests, 40 pubs have reported one, six pubs two, two pubs three and two pubs have reported four.
The Tim Martin-led business has told Pub & Bar that 28 of the 66 employees have already returned to work, after self-isolating in accordance with medical guidelines.
“It is clearly not the case that pubs are dangerous places to be,” Martin (pictured) says. “Strong scientific evidence shows that handwashing and social distancing, as practised by most pubs, work.
“In this connection, Wetherspoon has invested around £15m on comprehensive social distancing and hygiene measures. These include reducing capacity, spacing out tables, the installation of screens between tables and around tills, and an average of 10 hand sanitisers per pub.
“If pubs are closed, or restricted so much that they become unprofitable, a great deal of the strenuous effort of the hospitality industry’s 3.2m employees, currently engaged on upholding hygiene and social distancing standards, will be lost – leaving the public to socialise at home or elsewhere, in unsupervised circumstances.
“Although it is clearly possible for Covid-19 infections to take place in pubs and shops, the evidence indicates that the risk is low, provided social distancing and hygiene rules are followed, and common sense is used.”
For a trip down memory lane, you can read Pub & Bar’s 2018 interview with Martin here.