AN OXFORDSHIRE pub owner has offered his venues as coronavirus vaccination hubs to the government. 

Dermot King, the chief executive of Oakman Inns (which own venues like The Blue Boar in Witney and The Crown and Thistle in Abingdon), even said he would forego the latest business grants in exchange for his 'big' venues being used for round-the-clock vaccinations. 

In the latest funding to businesses announced by Rishi Sunak earlier this week, Oakman Inns would be able to claim more than £250,000 over the next four months to help bounce back from the third lockdown. 

Banbury Cake:

Inside The Crown and Thistle, Abingdon 

But Mr King is ready to give it all back to the government to help sort a quicker roll-out of the vaccines, which he thinks will be financially better in the long-run. 

He explained that the pubs, which are all kitted out with large kitchens and refrigerators, are otherwise sitting empty and unused. 

He said: “The only route to any normality is through mass vaccination and for that the NHS needs to be able to work at scale. The entire hospitality industry is desperate to re-open as quickly as possible before we have huge scale redundancies across the sector.

Banbury Cake:

“Our pubs have large indoor spaces and in some cases large car parks and accommodation, which could accommodate large numbers of people around the clock. Clearly, the money offered by the Chancellor yesterday would help us in the short-term, but realistically the only way all of us can get back to normal is to get the country vaccinated. We would rather let the Government keep their hand-out to invest it in using hospitality venues as vaccination centres for the greater good of all.

“The hospitality sector has the venues, it has the infrastructure, the venues are sitting empty, and our offer even includes a contribution towards the cost of the scheme. We want to help the Government and the people of the UK beat COVID-19 because the quicker we’re vaccinated, the more lives we save, the more jobs we save, the more businesses we save, and we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to see that happen.”

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