79 Greene King sites to close with 800 jobs at risk

Pub giant Greene King is set to close 79 of its sites with 800 jobs on the line due to the recent tighter COVID-19 restrictions.

About a third of the 79 earmarked pubs will be shut permanently.

The company stated that the 10pm curfew and the winding down of the furlough scheme was a 'challenge' to trading.

Greene King, which has a portfolio of nearly 1,700 managed pubs and 1,000 tenanted venues across the UK and 38,000 employees, said it would seek to redeploy affected staff wherever possible.

The news came before Nicola Sturgeon's announcement on further restrictions to pubs in Scotland.

CEO Nick MacKenzie then commented, “Today’s shut-down of Scottish pubs is a devastating blow for the thousands of people who work in the industry. We understand that decisive action needs to be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

'We have invested millions of pounds in ensuring that our pubs are safe and only had six Test and Protect requests from NHS Scotland in total across our 125 managed pubs since we reopened on 15 July, having served millions of customers. It is time to stop unfairly targeting pubs.

“The sector has already seen pub closures and job losses and a second shut-down will see more closures and lost jobs in every Scottish community. We welcome the acknowledgement that support is needed but are concerned that £40m won’t go far enough and urgently need to understand the detail and the speed this can be deployed.”