JD Wetherspoons: 66 staff test positive for Covid-19 across 50 different pubs

Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin said 32 million people have visited its pubs since it reopened in July.

Monday, 14th September 2020, 11:38 am

JD Wetherspoons CEO Tim Martin dismissed claims from health experts that pubs are “dangerous”, despite the chain confirming that more than 60 staff members have tested positive for coronavirus.

The company said 66 of its 41,000 workers had tested positive for the disease across 50 of its locations.

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Last month Aberdeen University Professor Hugh Pennington said pubs are “far, far more dangerous places to be” than schools, during a discussion on the reopening of educational establishments.

JD Wetherspoons CEO Tim Martin dismissed claims from health experts that pubs are “dangerous”, despite the chain confirming that more than 60 staff members have tested positive for coronavirus. (Photo by Henry Nicholls WPA Pool/Getty Images)
JD Wetherspoons CEO Tim Martin dismissed claims from health experts that pubs are “dangerous”, despite the chain confirming that more than 60 staff members have tested positive for coronavirus. (Photo by Henry Nicholls WPA Pool/Getty Images)

But Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin said the situation “with regard to pubs has been widely misunderstood.”

Since reopening on July 4, the pub chain said 32 million people had visited its 861 locations across the UK.

It said 40 of its pubs had reported a single staff member testing positive for coronavirus since that date.

A further six reported two members of staff testing positive, while two others reported three, and two more reported four.

In total, 50 Wetherspoons pubs have disclosed infected staff members.

Wetherspoon said 28 of the affected employees had returned to work. A spokesman for the company said the workers, as well as those who worked in close proximity to them, self-isolated for 14 days and were paid in full.

Mr Martin refused to give a definitive list of affected pubs, but said: "Whenever there has been a situation we have dealt with the local press, public health and the council," he said.

The chain said signing up to the NHS track-and-trace system was mandatory in its premises.

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