THE boss of Wetherspoons has described the response to coronavirus as 'over the top' and thinks pubs should stay open during the outbreak.

Tim Martin made the comments during an interview with Sky News.

The chain's founder and chairman argued that supermarkets were far more crowded and claimed there had 'hardly been any transmission' of infection in pubs.

Wetherspoons has two pubs in Warrington, including the Friar Penketh and the Looking Glass.

Mr Martin told Sky News: "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."

The comments have caused an outcry on social media with the hashtag #BoycottWetherspoons trending on Twitter.