JD Wetherspoon has said that 66 of its workers have tested positive for the coronavirus but maintains that visiting pubs is safe.
The company, which employs more than 41,000 people, said the vast majority of its pubs had recorded no positive tests for the virus.
There had been one or more cases among staff at 50 of its pubs.
Wetherspoon’s boss Tim Martin dismissed claims by disease expert Professor Hugh Pennington that pubs are “dangerous”.
He said: “The situation with regard to pubs has been widely misunderstood.”
Aberdeen University’s Prof Pennington said last month that pubs are “far, far more dangerous places to be” when discussing sending children back to school during the pandemic.
Since reopening on 4 July, Wetherspoons said some 32 million people had visited its 861 open pubs.
It said of those, 40 pubs have reported one worker testing positive for the coronavirus and six pubs have disclosed two.
In addition, two pubs reported three staff testing positive and two pubs said four workers had.