The so-called lockdown by proxy has forced Fullers to shut 20 of its busiest boozers prompting chief executive Simon Emeny to launch a broadside on the government’s handling of the crisis.
Fuller, Smith and Turner chief executive Simon Emeny hit out at the Government’s handling of the latest chapter in the Covid crisis as he confirmed the indefinite closure of 20 of the brand’s busiest pubs.
In an interview with Sky News, he condemned what he described as the ‘mixed messages’ coming from government regarding the surge in Omicron cases which he said left him with no option but to close normally busy venues.
He stated: ““Clearly the government are being given scientific advice and are attempting to navigate this current crisis. But the only way through this though, having given those mixed messages to customers, is to give financial support to the sector. The country needs a vibrant hospitality sector coming out of this.
He added: ““Operating a large number of units in central London, we’re really in the eye of this hospitality challenge. Being out last night in the centre, it was very, very quiet. The reality in London is that our sales are currently down between 60 and 80 per cent. As a result, we are closing 20 of what would have been our busiest sites indefinitely.”
“Engagement with the sector over the last three weeks has been very, very late – and very rushed. It’s confusing customers, and it’s causing a lot of operational difficulties.”
Speaking on behalf of the sector he confirmed: “My worry for everybody is those staff that aren’t going to be working who have got families to feed (and) who are working for companies who now have zero sales. Who is going to pay them? How are they going to pay their rent, and how are they going to live over the coming weeks and months?”