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Wed 24th Jun 2020 - Update: Re-opening guidance, Wetherspoon, McDonald’s, Fuller’s
Government publishes re-opening guidance: The government has this morning published a 41-page document offering the sector guidance of safe re-opening on 4 July. The guidance covers areas such a “keeping customers and staff safe”, “workforce management”, “cleaning the workplace” and “inbound and outbound goods”. The introduction states: “The UK is currently experiencing a public health emergency as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. As such, it is critical that businesses take a range of measures to keep everyone safe. This document is to help you understand how to work safely and keep your customers safe during this pandemic, ensuring as many people as possible comply with social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable). We hope it gives you freedom within a practical framework to think about what you need to do to continue, or restart, operations during the covid-19 pandemic. We understand how important it is that you can work safely and support your workers’ and customers’ health and wellbeing during the covid-19 pandemic and not contribute to the spread of the virus. We know that many of these businesses are currently closed, by government regulation, for their usual service – this guidance will be useful for those businesses as they develop new ways of working or to help prepare for the time when they are able to reopen. The government is clear that workers should not be forced into an unsafe workplace and the health and safety of workers and customers, and public health, should not be put at risk.” To read the guidance click here

JD Wetherspoon puts new pub developments on hold, reports results of staff survey: JD Wetherspoon has reported it will not begin any new pub development projects in the next 12 months. The company stated: “The company does not currently intend to start any new pub development projects in the next 12 months. A small number of projects that were ‘on site’ when pubs closed will be completed in due course. We have carried out a survey and, as at 18 June, have received 36,004 (82%) responses from employees, the results of which have already been shared with them. Of those who responded, 35,616 have said they intend to return to work, although 4,090 are not able to return immediately, due to maternity leave, caring responsibilities, or health issues. 388 have said they do not intend to return to work, and have either resigned, or intend to resign. 1,934 have said that they are either ‘shielding’ or are vulnerable. A percentage of them will not be able to return to work at this stage. 79 have tested positive for covid-19, of which 74 have said they have recovered, and 5 have said that they are still unwell. 834 suspected they had covid-19, not confirmed by a test, of which 780 have said they have recovered and 54 have said that they are still unwell. Sadly, two loyal members of staff died at the end of April, having tested positive for covid-19. Our condolences go to their families, friends and colleagues.” On re-opening it stated: “The company’s pubs in England are due to reopen on 4 July 2020, in line with the government’s guidance. Following consultation with employees, resulting in over 3,000 suggestions, the company has created the ‘Wetherspoon covid-19 Secure Operating Plan’, which sets out how we intend to safely operate pubs when we reopen.”

McDonald’s re-opens 280 town centre sites: McDonald’s is opening 280 restaurants in towns and city centres for walk-in takeaway service. The company stated: “With restaurant teams adjusting to new procedures to enable safe working and social distancing, stores will look a little different and things may take a little longer. The safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers and delivery partner couriers is our priority, so we have introduced the following measures for takeaway: McDonald’s will provide clear signposting and floor-markings to create a one-way system around restaurants for customers and delivery partner couriers, where possible; A limited number of people will be allowed inside restaurants to help customers and employees adhere to social distancing – this will vary depending upon the restaurant size and layout; Customers will be welcomed inside when a space becomes available and will be asked to sanitise their hands at cleaning stations that have been introduced in all restaurants; There will be fewer self-order screens switched on and those in use will be sanitised at least every 30 minutes. Customers can also order via the My McDonald’s app; Customers are encouraged to visit alone to collect their food where possible. For those visiting with children, play areas and digital play areas will remain closed; Restaurant seating areas, customer toilets and lifts will remain closed. On Wednesday morning, 42 pilot restaurants will test the return of the McMuffin, as the company trials returning to breakfast service. The pilot restaurants will test a limited menu and reduced hours in line with the previous reopening trials, with a view to rolling out breakfast service nationwide later in the summer.”

Escape Hunt launches remote versions of its escape room experiences: Escape Hunt, the operator of escape rooms in the fast-growing experiential leisure sector, has launched remote versions of its most popular escape room experiences Doctor Who: Worlds Collide and The Fourth Samurai via remote platforms. The company stated: “In this brand-new remote experience, friends, families and colleagues can come together via Zoom and play Escape Hunt’s physical escape rooms – Doctor Who: Worlds Collide and The Fourth Samurai – from their own homes. Customers will take control of a real-life expert games master, move them around the physical room, find hidden clues, solve puzzles and battle to escape before time runs out. Both games are charged per game on an hourly basis and are suitable for one to six players over eight years old.” Chief executive Richard Harpham said: “We are delighted to be expanding our range of ‘at home’ experiences with remote play games. Initial trials of the games have been extremely successful and it is fantastic that now, using technology, we can give people the opportunity to play our popular physical escape rooms in their own homes.”

Fuller’s reports slight delay to full year results: Fuller’s has reported a slight delay to its full year results. The company stated: “As previously announced, Fuller, Smith & Turner had intended to publish its full year results for the 52 weeks ended 28 March 2020, on Thursday, 25 June 2020. Whilst the audit process is nearly complete, the auditors have informed the company that they will need some additional time to complete the necessary routine audit procedures due to the practical implications surrounding covid-19 and the related abnormal working arrangements. The date of the results will therefore be delayed for a short period. Fuller’s will now announce full year results for the year ended 28 March 2020 on Friday, 3 July 2020.”

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