Wetherspoons boss who backed Boris Johnson says his staff could have easily dealt with ‘high jinks' over partygate allegations
Pubs were closed at the time that one of the Downing Street parties is alleged to have taken place.
The pub chain revealed that sales had taken a 16.6% hit from the Omicron variant in the three months to January 16.
The statement added that public anger regarding “partygate” related mainly to hypocrisy, the public was prevented from seeing friends and family, while the same rules were allegedly not being observed at 10 Downing Street.
It added: "However, the circumstances also highlight other ramifications of “lockdowns” and pub closures."
"Central London pubs employ experienced staff, including highly trained managers, who would have easily dealt with the “high jinks” alleged to have occurred at No. 10.
"CCTV is in operation in Central London pubs, so subsequent enquiries as to events are facilitated by the ready availability of evidence.
"In 2020, before vaccinations were available, Covid controls in pubs were superior to private parties, with screens, sanitisers, optimal seating layouts and so on.
"Wetherspoon, for example, registered over 50 million customer visits in the second half of 2020, when pubs were permitted to reopen, and there were no outbreaks of the virus among customers, as defined by the public health authorities, during this time.
"As Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council said, in September 2020: “The data we have shows that the infection rate has risen mainly due to social interactions,
particularly private household gatherings. In shops and hospitality venues there are strict measures in place to ensure they are Covid-safe, whereas it is much easier to inadvertently pass on the virus in someone’s house, where people are more relaxed and less vigilant.”
"Public finances would be in better shape - as Wetherspoon’s annual report shows, Wetherspoon, its staff and customers, normally pay around £15 million of taxes a week, about one pound in every thousand collected by the government.
"Pubs did not open for a further 6 weeks (4 July, 2020) after this event, so the Treasury lost large sums from Wetherspoon alone – a fraction of the contribution from the hospitality, travel and leisure industries.
"There are well documented social and health benefits from open hospitality venues, especially for people who don’t, or can’t, attend private parties.