Who remembers what it was like to go down the pub and have a few drinks with your mates without having to worry about them infringing your two-metre exclusion zone?
If you are like me and have a terrible short-term memory, then you would have forgotten the pleasure that can be had when talking absolute rubbish with your mates over a pint.
But now, we are starting to get a glimpse of what pubs might look like when they eventually begin to open.
One of the largest chains of pubs, Wetherspoons, has given the beer-loving world a look at what ‘going down the pub’ could look like.
The chain has said that: “Social distancing measures will result in the employment of two full-time staff per pub, slightly more for bigger pubs, who will regularly clean surfaces and touchpoints throughout the pubs”.
So waiting times at the bar could go up, assuming that a decent number of people are allowed in the pub in the first place…
The company has said that it will re-open its 875 pubs across the UK and Republic of Ireland when ‘it has the official go-ahead from the relevant governments’.
Could this be in June? Unlikely… Most people seem to think that the hospitality sector will start to re-open again in July…
A spokesperson for Wetherspoons said that: “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 to draw up its plans” before re-opening its various ‘watering holes’.
But many people have already developed a nervousness about being around other people, knowing that the ‘invisible enemy’ is out there, hiding on surfaces and in other peoples respiratory tracts.
The pub chain has said that it will have screens in front of its tills. But not along the entire bars.
So if you have COVID-19 and you cough or sneeze at the bartender as they are serving you, then the bartender should get some protection from your droplets of snot and spit.
But what about if you are leaning over the bar deciding on what flavour crisps to have, away from the till, when a tirade of wet sneezes suddenly overcomes you?
The chain has also said that they will put screens up in their pubs to create seating areas where it is not possible to separate the tables to the social distancing requirement.
So I guess that means that if a group of single lads meet a group of single lasses, then they either won’t be able to hear the lads chat-up lines (which could be a good thing) or everyone else in the pub will be able to hear them.
So, for now, at least, singletons will probably have to rely on the likes of Tinder for meeting potential partners…
Wetherspoons has also said that it will be providing gloves, masks and protective eyewear for their staff. But they added that ’employees can elect to wear them or not, subject to government guidelines.
But can you imagine some poor sod having to wear all that PPE in the middle of a roasting hot pub in the peak summer months!?
There will also be an average ten hand sanitiser dispensers around Wetherspoons pubs, including at the entrance for customers and staff to use.
When they say ‘use’, they mean to use on your hands rather than drinking the 70% proof alcohol gels (to clarify).
Every Wetherspoons employee will also 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.
They will also have dedicate staff who will monitor the comings-and-goings in the pub to maintain social distancing standards. There will also be a member of staff on the door at peak times to supervise the social distancing rules.
Let’s hope that there aren’t loads of pub brawls started by people who get tanked up after the lockdown, because if there are, then all of these social distancing measures will be a complete waste of time.
The pub chain has also said that there will be separate entry and exit points to their pubs (where possible).
A spokesperson added:
“Each pub will have a member of staff working full time (two or more staff per pub to cover all opening hours) to sanitise all the contact points during opening hours.
“These will include door handles, allergen information screens, card payment machines and handrails.
“Customers will be asked to use the Wetherspoon order and pay app, wherever possible, or pay at the bar using a credit/debit card and contactless, although cash will be accepted.
“Staff will hand over all drinks holding the base of the glass, and when ordered by the app, they will be delivered to the table on a tray and placed on the table using the base of the glass.
“Food will be delivered to the table by a member of floor staff”.
But what do you think? Will you feel comfortable visiting a Wetherspoons pub with these measures in place?
Let us know in the comments below.
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