PUB chain Wetherspoons is to open 18 new boozers as part of a £145million investment drive.
The mammoth cash injection will create an estimated 2,000 jobs across its business.
As well as opening new pubs, Wetherspoons will also use the funds to upgrade its existing 871 establishments.
This includes “significant extensions” to 57 of its boozers.
The company says it plans on starting the development project within weeks of its pubs reopening fully.
Pubs won’t be able to fully reopen for indoor seating until mid-May at the earliest, under plans to ease lockdown restrictions.
Wetherspoons new pub openings – full list
WETHERSPOONS will open pubs in the following locations across the UK and Ireland, and is subject to change:
- Kings Norton (Birmingham)
- Newport Pagnell
- Shawlands (Glasgow)
- Bishopston (Bristol)
- Crystal Palace
Once this initial investment is completed, Wetherspoons plans on splashing £750million on opening 15 new pubs and enlarging 50 existing pubs each year for ten years.
This ten-year pub project will result in 20,000 new jobs.
A spokesperson for Wetherspoons told The Sun there are currently no plans to shut any pubs.
The confirmation of its new investment plan comes just 24 hours after Wetherspoons founder and chairman Tim Martin warned how introducing vaccine passports to get a pint would be the “last straw” for struggling pubs.
Vaccine passports have been mooted for holidaymakers and pub-goers as the country is lifted out of lockdown, although Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week “no decisions have been taken” on whether to introduce them.
As part of plans to unlock businesses in England, pubs and restaurants should be able to reopen for outdoor dining from April 12 at the earliest, with indoor dining expected to be allowed from May 17.
However, like with previous reopenings after lockdowns, punters will be expected to follow rules to keep venues covid-secure.
For example, Wetherspoons customers won’t be able to stand at the bar and you’ll be encourage to pay for your food and drinks through its free app.
There will also be a reduced menu in place – which sadly means some fan favourites like curries and mixed grills will be temporarily unavailable.
Pubs will also be allowed to offer takeaway pints, something which was banned during lockdown.
Like before, face masks must be worn by staff and customers when not sat at a table.
Wetherspoons founder and chairman Tim Martin said: “Our immediate investment will provide work for architects, contractors and builders as well as result in 2,000 new jobs for staff in our pubs.
“We are geared up to start on the first projects within a few months.
“However, the investment is conditional on the UK opening back up again on a long-term basis, with no further lockdowns or the constant changing of rules.”
Rival pub chain Marston’s is reopening almost 700 pubs next month once restrictions are lifted.
Fuller’s plans on welcoming customers back to 183 of its pubs from April 12.
We also explain the table booking policies for Young’s and Greene King, and when they plan to reopen.