Pub giant Wetherspoon is slashing beer prices across its Essex and Hertfordshire pubs.
They are among areas of the South East going into Tier 3 restrictions, meaning all hospitality must close.
Drinks will be as cheap as 99p for a pint – but even in tier 2, anyone ordering an alcoholic drink must also order a ‘substantial meal’.
The company said that until final orders tomorrow (Tuesday) all its pubs going into Tier 3 in London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will be serving real ales at 99p a pint.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We would have to throw any unsold real ale away in those pubs moving to Tier 3, so it makes sense that our customers can enjoy it at even greater value prices than normal in those pubs that will be affected.”
The chain’s chairman Tim Martin, a vocal critic of the measures, told talkRadio on Monday the decision amounted to a “lockdown by any other name”.
He said: “It’s very sad.
“I think it’s possibly over 650,000 people in pubs and the hospitality industry alone out of work – that’s probably the working population of say Liverpool and Manchester, the equivalent, and for no health benefit – not that I can see.”
The British Beer & Pub Association said 56,000 jobs in the sector are now at risk in London alone, with all of the capital’s 3,680 pubs forced to close except for takeaways.
Earlier this month, Mr Martin said he would keep eight of his pubs open in Wales, effectively trading as cafes in Cardiff, Newport, Caernarfon, Cwmbran, Mold and Wrexham, after the Welsh Government barred the sale of alcohol in hospitality venues.