Fears raised over future of the UK pub industry

Britain's famous pubs face a bleak future if restrictions aren't lifted soon.

That was the warning from chain operator J D Wetherspoon on Friday (March 19).

'Spoons', as Britons often call it, slipped to a first-half loss from a year-earlier profit as all of its pubs were closed during the holidays due to lockdown.

Chairman Tim Martin, an outspoken critic of the government's handling of the health crisis, said that the future of the industry depended on a "consistent set of sensible policies".

He's called for the ending of lockdowns and tier systems.

Spoons is set to open beer gardens, rooftop gardens and patios at nearly 400 of its 872 pubs next month in light of easing restrictions.

The company posted its first annual loss since 1984 in fiscal year 2020.

It's had to cut hundreds of jobs and ask investors for money twice, to get through the past year.

Martin condemned curbs including curfews, a requirement for "substantial meals" with drinks, and masks for bathroom visits.

He says the measures have "no real basis in common sense or science", and demanded that the government show more consideration for the industry.

Wetherspoon reported a pre-tax loss of 46.2 million pounds, or about $64 million, for the six months ending January 24.

That's a reversal from profits this time last year.

The disappointing results come in the week of St Patrick's Day.

The British Beer and Pub Association estimated that on March 17 alone, pubs lost out on 14 million sales of pints.