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Fri 22nd May 2020 - JD Wetherspoon to invest initial £11m as it sets out guidelines for when pubs reopen
JD Wetherspoon to invest initial £11m as it sets out guidelines for when pubs reopen: JD Wetherspoon is to invest an initial £11m to ensure its staff and customers are safe before its pubs reopen. Social distancing measures will result in the employment of two full-time staff per pub, slightly more for bigger pubs, who will regularly clean surfaces and touch points throughout the sites. The company will open its 875 pubs across the UK and Republic of Ireland, when it has the official go-ahead from the relevant governments. It said it has undertaken extensive employee consultation and has also consulted with many of its suppliers and contractors, as well as referring to UKHospitality guidelines to draw up its plans. All pubs will have screens at the till point. There will also be screens to create seating areas where it is not possible to separate tables to social distancing requirements. Wetherspoon will provide gloves, masks and protective eyewear that employees can elect whether to wear, subject to government guidelines. There will be an average of ten hand sanitiser dispensers around the pub, including at the entrance for customers and staff to use. Every employee will need to complete and sign a daily health assessment questionnaire to confirm they are fit to work. This will include having their temperature taken using a digital thermometer. Dedicated staff will monitor the pub at all times in order to maintain social distancing standards and there will be a member of staff on the door at peak times. Pubs will use one entrance with a separate exit door where possible marked out by floor stickers and/or barriers. There will be clear printed information providing guidance to customers as they enter. Customers will be asked to use the Wetherspoon order and pay app, wherever possible, or pay at the bar using a credit/debit card and contactless, although cash will be accepted. Staff will hand over all drinks holding the base of the glass and when ordered by the app they will be delivered to the table on a tray and placed on the table using the base of the glass. Food will be delivered to the table by a member of floor staff. The pubs will also offer a slightly reduced menu and will provide sachets (ketchup, mayonnaise, salt and pepper), rather than their usual condiment bottles. They will be open their usual opening hours, which on average is 8am to midnight from Sunday to Thursday and 8am to 1am on Friday and Saturday. All staff will receive a full briefing and training on the new way of running the pubs. Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson said: “At present the government have not confirmed any reopening date for pubs. However, it is important that we are prepared for any announcement. We have spent a number of weeks consulting with staff who work in our pubs, as well as area managers in order to draw up our plans. We have received more than 2,500 suggestions from our staff. The safety of our staff and customers is paramount.” Wetherspoon has an average customer area of almost 4,000 square foot and almost 700 of its pubs have either a beer garden, roof garden/terrace or outside patio area.

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