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Everyone back to the bar! Wetherspoon reveals post-Freedom Day plans

Everyone back to the bar! Wetherspoons reveal plans for post-Freedom Day pubs when masks will be optional, bar service will resume and screens between tables will stay

  • Punters to choose if they wear masks and can order at the bar again come July 19
  • Limits on party numbers, such as the rule of six, will no longer apply at the pubs 
  • Protective screens will remain in place for those wanting to enjoy their pints 
  • Legal limits on contact are set to end on Monday, July 19 – dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ 

Wetherspoons has revealed what its punters can expect when coming into their local for a post-Freedom Day pint – including guidance on mask wearing, bar service and protective screens.

With most legal limits on contact expected to come to an end come Monday, July 19, supermarkets, employers and hospitality venues across the country have been sharing their plans.

Wetherspoon has revealed that mandatory mask wearing inside and limits on party numbers will end on July 19 – although face coverings will still be available to wear at each customer’s discretion.

Bar service is set to resume, although customers will still be encouraged to use the order and pay apps. 

Protective screens will remain in place between tables and on bar serveries for the foreseeable future. 

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin blasted the previous ‘arbitrary’ rules on substantial meals, 10pm curfews and table service at pubs. 

Wetherspoon has revealed that mandatory mask wearing inside and limits on party numbers will end on July 19 – although face coverings will still be available to wear at each customer’s discretion

With the Government confirming that most legal restrictions on human contact will be lifted on July 19, Wetherspoon has opted to reinstate measures from July 2020.

The company explained that due to ‘uncertainty’ over the future impact of Covid-19, it will be retaining the majority of rules enforced over the last 12 months.

But Wetherspoon will drop the mandatory enforcement of mask-wearing in its 925 venues, allowing customers to choose whether or not they don a face covering inside.

The ‘Rule of Six’ – limits on customer parties restricting total numbers to six – will end and bar service is also set to resume.

Protective screens will remain in place between tables and on bar serveries in JD Wetherspoon venues for the foreseeable future 

Hand sanitiser stations are set to stay in Wetherspoon venues across the UK and Ireland 

Directional signage for entrances and exits will remain, and pubs will be encouraged to increase ventilation by propping doors and windows open as much as possible.

Internal capacity will remain at the same levels of today, where customer entry is limited to the number of available seats.

Single-use sachets will remain in use, and disposable food menus are also set to stay.  

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin told MailOnline: ‘When pubs reopened after the first lockdown, in July last year, a sensible set of measures, as outlined above, were agreed between the hospitality industry, the health authorities and other interested parties, kept transmission in hospitality venues at low levels.

‘Wetherspoon had over 50 million customer visits, recorded through the test and trace system, in the second half of 2020 without a single reported example of an ‘outbreak’ amongst customers, as defined by the health authorities.

‘As UK Hospitality, the British institute of Innkeepers and the British Beer and Pub Association said in October last year, “of 22,500 …. hospitality venues surveyed, just 1% said they were linked by NHS test and trace to an incident”. 

‘While risks from COVID- 19 cannot be eliminated completely, we believe that the July 2020 guidelines are a sensible backstop for the industry and strike a fair balance between health, employment and the economy.

‘It is hoped that arbitrary and capricious government rules, which have been a regular feature in recent months, such as the requirement for substantial meals, curfews and table service, which have no scientific provenance, can be avoided in future. 

‘These sorts of rules damage the economy, are extraordinarily difficult for pub staff to implement and are invariably regarded by customers as absurd.’ 

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