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Reopening strategy would involve “robust” measures, says pubs boss

PUBLISHED: 15:49 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:05 11 May 2020

Greene King boss Nick Mackenzie is keen to avoid a false start for pubs coming out of lockdown  Picture: VISMEDIA

Greene King boss Nick Mackenzie is keen to avoid a false start for pubs coming out of lockdown Picture: VISMEDIA

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A pubs giant says it is “keen to avoid a false start” as prime minister announced an easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King, who is taking a cautious approach to planning his lockdown exit strategy  Picture: ADAM SMYTHNick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King, who is taking a cautious approach to planning his lockdown exit strategy Picture: ADAM SMYTH

Greene King boss Nick Mackenzie called for more government support for the industry, which has been badly hit by the crisis and is likely to be among the last workplaces to reopen.

Boris Johnson has laid out a staged plan for England coming out of lockdown, with the hospitality industry, including pubs, featured in the third stage, which would happen “at the earliest by July”, and subject to various caveats and scientific advice.

MORE – ‘It’s harder to open than to close’ admits Greene King boss grappling challenge of how to come out of lockdown

“If and only if the numbers support it, we will hope to re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing,” the prime minister said in a speech to the nation on Sunday, May 10.

Mr Mackenzie said the health of staff and customers was the Bury St Edmunds-based company’s main focus as he cautioned against acting too quickly.

“We of course want to welcome back customers to our pubs as soon as we can, but the impact on our 38,000 people and our commitment to customer safety are our primary concerns,” he said.

“We are keen to avoid a false start and the support that the government has provided during the lockdown will also be needed during the recovery phase as maintaining social distancing will have a significant impact on pubs.

“We are working closely with our people and our tenants to put in place a reopening strategy that adheres closely to government guidance so that when we do open our doors again, it is with robust safety and hygiene measures in place for our team and customers.”

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