Written by Anna Turbina
Pub giant Greene King, which owns two pubs in the centre of Kingston, announced on Wednesday October 6, that it was cutting 800 jobs and keeping 79 branches closed – with some expected to close permanently.
The British Beer & Pub Association said the 10pm curfew and the rule of six, which came into effect on September 14, would hinder the recovery as pubs experienced a slump in sales after the March lockdown.
Michael, 34, a bartender in The Ram said: “Since the first lockdown, I have been really concerned about my future.
“If another lockdown is looming, the industry is going to go Pete Tong, those measures look a bit arbitrary to me.”
There are two Greene King pubs in Kingston: The Ram and Druids Head. It is unclear whether Kingston’s pubs would be affected by the cuts.
The British Beer & Pub Association is asking the government to step up to the plate and bolster financial support to the industry.
The catering sector is one of the most severely impacted by lockdown measures, according to LSE research.
Although the redundancies are a mere fraction of Greene King’s payroll, they feed into the underlying anxiety of the hospitality sector, with more people facing cuts should a second full lockdown ensue.
As the future of some Surrey branches of Greene Pubs hangs in the balance, several University societies shared their concern.
The head of social media at Kingston Law Society Sarah said: “We do normally rely on pubs for our social events, so we are really saddened by all this shake-up. “
She added: “So obviously it puts a dampener on the general mood, especially in the run-up to our annual Christmas dinner celebration.
“Pubs have already been our ideal stomping ground, it’s great for community-building.”
Greene King, which employs 38,000 people, is the latest casualty of the September restrictions.