Under the ‘new normal’ drinkers will be expected to sanitise their hands on arrival and follow one-way systems through the bar where the tills will be screened off to protect staff, who will be provided with PPE including masks, gloves and eye protection.
The JD Wetherspoon pub chain has laid out plans for reopening hundreds of pubs once lockdown restrictions are relaxed.
The company, run by millionaire Tim Martin, has said it was spending £11 million on measures to ensure its 867 UK pubs can reopen this summer.
Under the new rules, customers will be encouraged to order from an app or by contactless card but will not be banning cash. Drinkers will be encouraged to sit outside in the pubs’ gardens, while tables inside will be surrounded by screens to ensure social distancing.
The chain’s food menu will be scaled back and condiment bottles removed and replaced with sachets.
Each pub will have a minimum of ten hand sanitiser dispensers and at least two full-time employees who will regularly clean surfaces and touch points.
Bar staff will have their temperatures taken on-site and will be asked to sign a daily health assessment. They will also be provided with face masks and protective goggles.
Wetherspoons said the £11 million investment means the business will be ready to reopen as soon as the government gives it the go ahead. This is not expected to be until July at the earliest.
Most UK pubs have been closed since 20 March, although some have recently started to offer takeaway drinks.
As a result of the closures, the Wetherspoon pub chain has been forced to furlough 99% of its 43,000 employees under the government’s job retention scheme.
Under the scheme, the government pays 80% of salary for staff who are kept on by their employer, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month.
Guidance issued by the trade body UK Hospitality has previously suggested an end to bar service, while the British Beer and Pubs Association said this week the 27,000 UK pubs with beer gardens should be among the first to open, as reported by the Guardian.
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