JD Wetherspoon announces safety measures for when St Albans pub reopens

The Waterend Barn

The Waterend Barn - Credit: Archant

Pub giant JD Wetherspoon has set out plans to ensure the safety of staff and customers – which will include dividing tables with protective screens at its St Albans venue – when given the green light to open by the government.

The company, which has one pub in the city – Waterend Barn in St Peter’s Street – will implement social distancing measures which will result in employment of two full time staff per pub – slightly more for bigger pubs – who will regularly clean surfaces and touch points.

Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin has faced heavy criticism during the coronavirus pandemic after initially refusing to close pubs, telling staff to get jobs in a supermarket to survive the lockdown, then threatening not to pay their suppliers until the crisis was over.

The company says it has undertaken extensive employee consultation and has also consulted with many of its suppliers and contractors, as well as referring to UK Hospitality guidelines.

Waterend Barn will have screens at the till point and there will also be screens to create seating areas where it is not possible to separate the tables to the social distancing requirement.

Stephen Baldwin, manager at Waterend Barn, said: “At present the government has 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.

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“The safety of staff and customers is paramount.”

Wetherspoon will provide gloves, masks and protective eyewear and employees can elect whether to wear them or not, subject to government guidelines.

There will be an average of ten hand sanitiser dispensers around each 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 that 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.

Customer entry and exit will be marked out by floor stickers and/or barriers and there will be clear printed information providing guidance to customers as they enter the pub.

The pub will also offer a slightly reduced menu and will provide sachets rather than their usual condiment bottles.