Wetherspoons boss reveals plan to reopen all 875 pubs with special measures

22 May 2020, 15:57 | Updated: 22 May 2020, 15:58

Tim Martin has been heavily criticised for how he's handled the closure of his pubs
Tim Martin has been heavily criticised for how he's handled the closure of his pubs. Picture: PA + Twitter @mimibrockstark
Mared Parry

By Mared Parry

The plan to reopen all of Wetherspoons' pubs within weeks will cost a whopping £11million.

Today, JD Wetherspoons revealed its plan to reopen all of its 875 branches using special measures to protect customers such as screens at bars and a one-way system.

The pub giant, headed up by chairman Tim Martin promises social distancing in the new blueprint, however, the two-meter rule isn't mentioned at all.

Experts in the hospital industry have said that the two meter rule will destroy the hospitality sector, as it's virtually impossible to apply it to the industry.

Pubs and restaurants have been begging the the Government to relax social distancing rules to one metre instead of two, to prevent the industry from failing and the JD Wetherspoon plan does not mention the distance customers will be kept apart. 

The chain closed on March 23 after Boris Johnson imposed a lockdown on Brits and ordered all non-essential businesses to shut, despite its chairman Tim Martin claiming the lockdown "wouldn't save lives".

The millionaire boss behind Wetherspoons has an £11million pound plan to reopen all of his branches as soon as possible, as we all expect pubs to start reopening in July.

Wetherspoons drinkers will be told to 'not to meet in large groups' and will be expected to sanitise their hands on arrival and at other times during their visit using dispensers dotted around the pubs.

They will follow one-way systems to the toilets and through the bar where the tills will be screened off to protect staff likely to be wearing masks, gloves and eye protection, the chain said.

Staff will hand over all drinks holding the base of the pint or wine glass and when ordered via a smartphone they will be delivered to the table on a tray for the customers to take themselves to reduce the chances of spreading Covid-19.

Boris Johnson with Tim Martin at Wetherspoons last July
Boris Johnson with Tim Martin at Wetherspoons last July. Picture: Getty

Families will be asked to keep children seated and always accompanied to the toilet.

The pubs are expected to operate for their normal hours of 8am to around 1am, although this could change, and Spoons will also encourage customers to order using its app with posters put up telling them 'there is no need to visit the bar'.

Drinkers will be encouraged to use many of the chain's large gardens but inside tables will be surrounded by screens to ensure social distancing.

The chain's food menu will be pared back and condiment bottles removed and replaced with sachets to prevent coronavirus spreading via shared ketchup, mayonnaise and vinegar. 

Every pub will also have a member of staff employed to sanatise the pubs, concentrating on door knobs, card machines and hand rails.