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Wetherspoons to spend £11mln readying pubs for re-opening

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JD Wetherspoon PLC (LON:JDW) is to invest £11mln in safe working practices to enable its 875 pubs to re-open when coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Measures will include having staff dedicated to ensuring social distancing distances are observed, a one-way system to the bar and hygiene screens to protect staff, the pub group said today.

Customers will be asked to sanitise their hands on entry while staff will be provided with masks, gloves and eye protection, though it is at their discretion whether they use them.

Employees will have to complete and sign a daily health assessment questionnaire to confirm that they are fit to work, which will include having their temperature taken using a digital thermometer.

Drinkers will also be encouraged to sit outside in the pubs’ gardens, said the FTSE250 group, a move which chimes with a report from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) yesterday.

Another trade body, UK Hospitality, today suggested urinals should be closed or else a divider be added to aid pubs re-open, in a 47-page risk and safety assessment.

PM Boris Johnson said some hospitality firms might be able to trade from 4 July, though Wetherspoons reported it had no firm date for when its pubs might re-open.

John Hutson, chief executive, said in a statement:  “At present, the government have not confirmed any re-opening 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.”

Shares in Wetherspoon rose slightly to 990p.

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