The former chairman of Pizza Express has lashed out at the government’s response to Covid-19 – and said a second lockdown would be disastrous’ for the country.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Luke Johnson said that a second set of restrictions across the country would lead to five milllion unemployed.
And he added that he believes coronavirus is getting a ‘disproportionate’ amount of attention.
Pizza Express has been forced to close 73 restaurants, putting 1,100 jobs at risk, after creditors approved a rescue restructure.
The casual dining chain has 355 Pizza Express restaurants open in the UK, and more than 30 more restaurants and music venues are scheduled to reopen in the coming weeks. It also operates 150 outlets internationally.
Mr Johnson said: “I think a second lockdown would be disastrous for welfare and for livelihoods. Somehow or other we have to pay for the NHS – that’s £150 billion a year and that means people have to be working.
“If we allow a second full lockdown then I suspect we will end up with five million unemployed next year which will have catastrophic economic and welfare consequences.
“The last full week – two per cent of deaths were from Covid. and I think there is a massive disproportionate attention given to this one disease which… there is a very low risk of getting it and dying from it if you are younger.”
Mr Johnson’s outburst came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that he is set to announce changes to the local and national lockdown rules in England.
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His confirmation comes amid speculation that current rules are to be replaced with a simpler three-tier system.
Mr Hancock said that the Government would outline a “more simplified” approach and acknowledged the need for local action to be “more consistent”.
He told the Commons: “I’ll update the House in due course on what action the Government is taking so we can have more consistent approaches to levels of local action, working with our colleagues in local government.
“For now, it’s essential that people follow the guidance in their local area.”