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Pandemic puts Scunthorpe pubs under pressure

Pandemic puts Scunthorpe pubs under pressure

Pandemic puts Scunthorpe pubs under pressure

Pubs in Scunthorpe and the surrounding area are coming under increasing pressure and uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic.

It is understood that pubs within the portfolio of brewery and pub chain Marston’s are to become subject to job cuts.

Nationwide, the firm has announced plans to axe some 2,150 jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Its total workforce is currently around 13,500.

In June, a spokesperson for the Wolverhampton-based company which runs 1,400 pubs, said its financial outlook looks “uncertain”.

No announcement of which pubs will be affected by these job losses has been made, meaning that employees of several popular public houses in Scunthorpe – including Bird in the Barley, Black Beauty and the Iron Forge – could be facing reduced hours or even redundancy.

The company added that as of June, it had taken a £40m hit as a direct result of the pandemic.

Since then, trade at Marston’s pubs has been hit hard by the 10pm curfew.

The additional restrictions and closures in some parts of the UK, as well as requirements for full table service and for PPE to be worn by staff and customers has also increased price pressures.

The chief executive of Marston’s Ralph Findlay has criticised the Government’s lack of consistency. He said:

“I am very disappointed that the improving confidence we were seeing among customers, helped by the Eat out to Help Out campaign, has been thrown in to reverse.

“That is a bigger issue than the 10pm curfew.

“If you look at the amount of business we do after 10pm across our 1,400 pubs that is about 5% of turnover.

“It is significant but not huge and, of course, it is different for different operators. For town centre or city centre bars it is a much bigger issue. For us the main issue is a change in sentiment.

“I am concerned it is getting to look like panic in Government which does not have a consistent approach to what it is trying to do.

“It is particularly frustrating to look at the Public Health England data which tracks where rises in infections are coming from.

“The wider hospitality sector, including coffee shops and restaurants, is 5% of the outside of home infection numbers.

“A tiny number of employees in our pubs and restaurants have been diagnosed with having the virus.

“Since July out of our 1,400 pubs only four have been contacted through Test and Trace to say someone who has had issues has been at one. We have not had any centre of infection.”

A consultation with affected staff is understood to be underway.

Contact Gi Scunthorpe News
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Kiera
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