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JD Wetherspoon, which has pubs in Newark and Bingham, unveils plan for safe and hygienic reopening of branches after coronavirus lockdown

Bosses at the UK's favourite pub chain have unveiled their strategy for maintaining staff and customers' safety upon reopening.

JD Wetherspoon shut all of its branches — including The Sir John Arderne in Newark and The Butter Cross in Bingham — in line with government guidelines announced on March 20 in the wake of a growing number of covid-19 cases.

The Sir John Arderne, Newark Market Place. Credit: Google Maps (35088319)
The Sir John Arderne, Newark Market Place. Credit: Google Maps (35088319)

Now that the number has started to ebb, its senior management has devised a plan for reopening — despite a date not yet being set.

Included in this is the promise of employing two or more additional full-time staff members in each of its 875 pubs, who'll be dedicated to cleaning and sanitising all contact points.

This includes door handles, allergen information screens, card payment machines and hand rails.

In a statement released today, 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.”

As well as employing dedicated sanitising staff, screens will be installed at every till and between tables that can't be moved to comply with social distancing rules.

On average, ten hand sanitiser dispensers will be offered at every branch for staff and customer use.

Dedicated employees 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.

The pubs will use one entrance with a separate exit door where possible, with floor stickers and/or barriers showing the entry and exit route.

While cash will still be accepted, the use of the Wetherspoon app or contactless card payments will be encouraged.

Each employee will have temperature checks and complete daily health assessments. Staff will handle all drinks by the base of the glass.

Masks, gloves and protective eyewear will be offered to employees, however it's their choice whether to wear it or not subject to government guidelines.

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