Young’s is planning to reopen its London pubs in August with 1 metre social distancing in place, the company said on Thursday.
The firm, which has 276 pubs, most of which are in London, said it may potentially start trading from some of its larger venues and those with beer gardens in mid-July. But the main plan is to have all sites open on August 3.
A thorough cleaning & sanitising regime will be in place.
Like rivals, Young’s had to close its estate in March when the lockdown came in. Total group revenue rose 2.6% to £311.6 million in the year to March and pre-tax profits decreased to £29.1 million from £39.5 million.
The company warned it expects trading in the year to March 2021 to be materially below average. It forecasts sales to return to more normalised levels the following year.
Patrick Dardis, chief executive of Young’s said: “We are confident with the steps we have taken to safeguard our business from the immediate threat of coronavirus. The board expects the business to be in a position to return to profitable growth when this unprecedented period is at an end and conditions allow, and we remain confident in our proven strategy.”
Companies in the industry have been working towards a July 4 reopening, in line with government guidance. However there are concerns that if 2 metre social distancing is required that would not be practical or financially viable for pub operators.
The Prime Minister last week said he hoped the two metre social distancing rule could be reduced and said the government is working fast to reopen the hospitality sector.
Young’s is working towards having 1 metre social distancing in place, but said it can adapt to other guidance if needed.
Young’s, behind pubs such as The Britannia in Kensington and the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town, gave the update as it posted results for the year to March.
Since the coronavirus outbreak it has taken a number of actions to cut costs and improve its liquidity. Among the measures was directors taking a pay cut and staff being furloughed.
In March Young’s gave a three-month rent holiday for its tenanted pubs.
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