Wetherspoons on Freedom Day: Plans revealed for face masks and table service

·2-min read
Wetherspoons founder and chairman Tim Martin (PA)
Wetherspoons founder and chairman Tim Martin (PA)

JD Wetherspoon has revealed it will relax its face mask and table service rules for customers on July 19.

The pub group, which runs 860 sites across the UK, said it will revert back to “successful measures” it had in place last summer upon the latest easing of coronavirus rules.

Punters will be allowed to order a pint at the bar again although they will be encouraged to use the Wetherspoons app to oder meals and drinks to reduce contact.

Face masks will no longer be enforced and customers and staff will be able to wear them at their discretion, according to the company.

Customers can also wave goodbye to the rule of six at the pub from Monday, although its test and trace system will remain on a voluntary basis.

Other safety measures such as screens between tables and hand sanitiser stations will remain across Wetherspoons pubs.

Government guidance released on Wednesday also encouraged pubs, restaurants and nightclubs to check vaccine and testing status as a condition of entry through the NHS Covid Pass.

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

Tim Martin founder and chairman of the chain said that some rules in place across his venues have been considered “absurd” by staff and called for reason from government.

“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,” he said.

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

However, the owner said that the guidelines of last July are a “sensible backstop” for the pub industry.

“When pubs reopened after the first lockdown in July last year, a sensible set of measures were agreed between the hospitality industry, the health authorities and other interested parties and kept transmission in hospitality venues at low levels,” he said.

“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.”

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