Wetherspoon pubs founder Tim Martin has claimed the government’s 10pm curfew is a ‘PR’ stunt and claimed lockdowns “do not work”.
Martin said pubs were not behind the rise in infections and the government was imposing the 10pm shutdown on pubs and restaurants to be seen to be doing something.
Martin, a Brexiteer who founded the Wetherspoon pub chain, told PA: “I think the government is out of touch and out of control.
“Most people think of a pub, a vision from their youth, people dancing, loud music and raucous behaviour.
“Most pubs are not like that and no pub when operating social distancing is like that.
“Why have they done it?
“The only thing I can think of is they must have the stats for pubs, very low figures for transmissions, so the reason they have done is it’s for PR reasons.
“They want to be seen to be doing something.
“A curfew is a bad idea because at the moment there’s relatively low level of transmissions in pubs.”
He said, of the 861 Wetherspoons pubs, as of last week, 810 had no infections reported and all were operating track and trace with 40 pubs having only one infection reported.
Martin said only handwashing and social distancing was proven to work against virus transmissions and called on parliament to “take charge” to debate the way forward, suggesting MPs look at how Sweden is tackling the pandemic.
He added: “Other things like moonshots, circuit breaks and rule of six, and now a curfew, are not scientifically proven to work.”
He later told Sky News: “The question for parliament is ‘do lockdowns work’.
“If they go into detail and forget about political loyalty and try to get to the heart of the problem – they’re intelligent people that’s why they’ve been elected – they’ll say ‘lockdowns don’t work’.
“There’s a lot of other things that do, but they don’t.”