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Counter screens and hand sanitiser: Wetherspoons outlines plans for how it can re-open its Irish pubs

Whenever they re-open, pubs are certain to look very different to how they did before Covid-19.

Inside Wetherspoons' Forty Foot pub in Dun Laoghaire.
Inside Wetherspoons' Forty Foot pub in Dun Laoghaire.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

WETHERSPOONS HAS SAID it will spend an initial £11 million making its 875 pubs in the UK and Ireland Covid-19 secure ahead of reopening, including screens at bars and tables.

The chain said each pub will hire two full-time workers to regularly clean surfaces and touch points throughout, with more employed in larger pubs.

Laying out the future plans for bringing customers back through its doors, bosses added all staff will be provided with gloves, masks and protective eyewear for those who want to wear it.

The pub chain operates seven bars in Ireland, with five in Dublin and one each in Carlow and Cork. 

In Ireland, all pubs have been shut since 15 March. Under the government’s roadmap to reopening, the guidelines are that they shouldn’t re-open until Phase Five on 10 August at the earliest.

Vintners, however, have argued that pubs should be permitted to open earlier and this week said a survey of Dublin pubs found four in 10 are planning to re-open as restaurants in June. 

Whenever they re-open, pubs are certain to look very different to how they did before the pandemic – with strict physical distancing in place and no sitting, standing or drinking at the bar allowed. 

On Wetherspoon’s plans, the company said customers would be closely watched to ensure social distancing.

It explained: “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.

“There will be an average 10 hand sanitiser dispensers around the pub, including at the entrance for customers and staff to use

“The pubs will use one entrance with a separate exit door where possible.”

Customers will be asked to pay via the Wetherspoon’s app or use contactless debit and credit cards.

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However, cash will still be accepted, it added.

Food will also be served again, but with a reduced menu to allow kitchen staff enough safe space and condiments including ketchup, salt and pepper will only be available in sachets.

Staff will also need to complete and sign a daily health assessment questionnaire to confirm that they are fit to work and have a digital thermometer temperature check.

With reporting from PA

About the author:

Sean Murray

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