The pub chain, which owns 1,379 boozers nationwide, says 2,150 of its 13,500-strong workforce are at risk of losing their jobs.
Marston’s made the announcement in a trading update today, which revealed pub sales were down 34% to £515million in the year to October 3, 2020 compared to the same period last year.
It blames a new 10pm curfew on entertainment businesses in England, as well as the requirements for full table service, face masks to be worn by guests and employees, and further forced closures in Scotland.
The pub adds that while 10,000 of its staff have returned to work following lockdown, a further 2,150 pub workers still on furlough nationwide are at risk of either redundancy or significantly fewer hours.
A consultation with affected staff has now launched, although there’s no timescale on when this will be concluded.
The chain’s 1,350 brewing and head office staff are unaffected as they’ve been working throughout lockdown.
It follows similar measures announced by rival chain Greene King earlier this month, which confirmed 26 sites will permanently shut, while a further 53 will temporarily close with their future remaining in the balance.
Around 800 staff across the 79 affected Greene King sites are now in consultation with the chain about being made redundant.
It too pointed the blame at the 10pm curfew.
The news comes as new figures published this week by the Office for National Statistics reveal that 673,000 UK jobs have been lost since the crisis began, taking the jobless total to a three-year high of 1.52million.
Meanwhile, a fifth of bosses say they’re planning to make 10% of workers redundant by the end of the year.
The government’s furlough scheme protecting jobs is set to end this month on October 31.
But chancellor Rishi Sunak has revealed a replacement scheme that will take force from November 1.
This will see workers get up to two-thirds of wages paid for hours they can’t work due to businesses operating reduced hours.
The scheme will also see the state pay for up to 66% of wages for employees in lockdown areas where businesses are forced to shut completely.
Pubs have been hard hit by the coronavirus enforced lockdown in March, which meant only those operating takeaways could continue to trade.
Marston’s says by July 4 it had reopened 99% of its pubs but it has since been forced to temporarily close eight pubs in Scotland, while 18 pubs in Liverpool have been impacted by new restrictions there.
Coronavirus is a devolved issue so separate regional rules are in place across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
England now operates a three-tier coronavirus system, which sees pubs and bars located in tier three zones having to close unless they serve food.
At present, Liverpool is the only region in tier three.
Ralph Findlay, Marston’s chief executive officer said: “The additional restrictions which have been applied across the UK most recently present significant challenges to us and will make business more difficult
for a period of time.
“I very much regret that the consequence of this is that the jobs of around 2,150 of our colleagues will be impacted, but it is an inevitable consequence of the limitations placed upon our business.”