Pub giant Hall & Woodhouse announces temporary closure of all its pubs

One of the most significant family-owned pub chains in Sussex today (Saturday, March 21) announced the temporary closure of its managed public houses.

Saturday, 21st March 2020, 12:01 am

Hall & Woodhouse is also giving support to their business partners who rent 130 of their pubs.

Managing Director Matt Kearsey said in response to the Coronavirus outbreak: “Even in our 243-year history, these are unprecedented times and we need to act decisively.

“We have taken the agonising decision to close the doors temporarily of all 52 H&W managed public houses. These temporary closures will take effect on a phased basis over the course of the next week.

Matt Kearsey, managing director of Hall & Woodhouse SUS-200320-165523001

“The action we are taking we believe is the right thing to do for the moment for everyone in the communities that we serve in light of the Government advice for people not to visit pubs.

“In our history we have faced many challenges - including world wars - but we have always kept our doors open. That is why it is with a heavy heart that we make this decision; but we do it to protect our teams and our guests from the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

“Our current plan is to continue to retain our teams, albeit on reduced remuneration with extra support available for those in need from the Woodhouse Trust - established many years ago by the family to support current and past team members. Hopefully the Government will follow our lead and provide support for people in this situation.”

He said they were also supporting their Business Partners who rent 130 of their pubs to run their own businesses. “We announced some days ago as a first step, amongst other things, a 100% rent holiday for a month. Together with Government action on rates, this removes the vast majority of fixed costs for these pubs. As they are running their own businesses, it is up to individual Business Partners as to whether they keep their pubs open. “

The brewery will continue to brew beer in Blandford to supply the off trade and those Business Partner pubs that remain open.

“We are following Government guidelines as to working from home for our support offices. Our current plan is that we continue to employ all our teams but inevitably to do so we will all have to pull together and make sacrifices, with the Directors and Shareholders taking the lead.

“We are now focussing on the immediate future and how we can continue to make people’s day and enrich our communities in new ways during the temporary closure of our pubs. We will also ensure that we are well prepared to re-open rapidly when it is right to do so.”