Coronavirus: Wetherspoon pub chain to remove lockdown-sceptic posters

‘It is fair to say that a few of the comments are out of date,' spokesperson says

Jon Sharman
Tuesday 12 January 2021 08:10
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<p>Tim Martin, the Wetherspoon chair, disagrees with how ministers have tackled the virus</p>

Tim Martin, the Wetherspoon chair, disagrees with how ministers have tackled the virus

The Wetherspoon pub chain says it will remove lockdown-sceptical posters from its venues as coronavirus continues to spread in parts of England.

Last month bosses made pages from their company magazine, Wetherspoon News, available to download and put in pub windows.

It was part of a campaign by chairman Tim Martin against government restrictions, which he said were “messing up the economy and also the health of the nation”.

One of the flyers was pictured still visible in some pub windows this month. It reproduces a news story from 20 November last year, which cast doubt on the dire warnings of government scientists about the threat posed by the second Covid-19 wave.

However, many of those grim predictions are now coming to pass, thanks in part to the new, more transmissible variant of the virus.

Sir Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, warned on Monday that Covid-19 is spreading “out of control” in some areas, adding: “We are facing an incredibly serious situation. We have more than 30,000 severely ill coronavirus patients in hospitals across England.”

Given the change in circumstances, some have suggested that continuing to display the old posters could amount to misinformation.

One Twitter user said it was “disgraceful with 1000+ daily deaths and NHS staff stretched”, while another added: “Can you take down the Covid posters you’ve stuck up in your pub windows? One’s in #Catford, 500m from #Lewishamhospital, which is full of #Covid19 patients. Your posters just encourage people to ignore the lockdown restrictions.”

On Monday a Wetherspoon spokesperson told The Independent: “The heading for the posters is ‘Read all about it’, which refers to the online edition of Wetherspoon News.

“The online edition has articles by most leading newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, New Statesman, Daily Telegraph and The Independent

“Having said that, the posters have been up for six weeks and it is fair to say that a few of the comments are out of date. 

“We intend to take the posters down from all Wetherspoon pubs in the next few days.

“It is vital in a democracy to have an informed debate. As a result there may be an opportunity to replace the posters with more up-to-date articles in due course.”

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