But now Martin has waded into the argument, saying that shutting pubs over the coronavirus outbreak is "over the top" and they should stay open "for the duration". He argued that supermarkets were far more crowded and claimed there had "hardly been any transmission" of infection in pubs (though we’re not sure how he’d possibly know that information).
His comments came after the business saw a further dip in sales following the PM’s instruction for drinkers to stay at home to help curb the spread Covid-19.
Our aim is for pubs open for the duration. This could go on for a long time.
I think that once you shut them down it's very difficult.
Supermarkets are very, very crowded. Pubs are much less crowded. There's hardly been any transmission of the virus within pubs and I think it's over the top to shut them.
That's a commercial view but also a common sense view.
So why is Martin so keen to see Britain – the country he claims to love so much – deviate from the advice that’s being followed in literally every other country? Who knows, but he did say that sales slid "at a significantly higher rate" after the crisis hit.
On social media, people weren’t impressed by Martin’s intervention. Given, you know, he’s not a scientist or a doctor.
Soon #BoycottWetherspoons began to trend nationally... and even Piers Morgan got involved.
I just heard Tim Martin, owner of Wetherspoons, say on @SkyNews there has been 'very little transmission of the vir… https://t.co/kkiITAWHQI