HELENSBURGH'S Henry Bell pub will re-open to punters as soon as its operators are given the green light from the government.

National pub chain JD Wetherspoon says it has drawn up plans to re-open all of its near-900 UK facilities "in or around June" - including the James Street premises - in line with social distancing measures and they are now just waiting for official approval.

Proposals to relax lockdown restrictions were made public by Scotland's First Minister last week, with some measures set to be gradually eased from this Friday, May 29.

However, pubs, restaurants and cafes are not expected to be able to fully re-open for some time yet, with progress being monitored as phase one of the plans kicks in.

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Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin attracted widespread criticism in the early stages of the lockdown after initially suggesting the company could not afford to pay staff unless government support was received, and stating that suppliers would not be paid until pubs re-opened.

Under the social distancing measures, two full-time staff will be employed per pub, who will regularly clean surfaces and touch points throughout the pubs.

Screens will be installed at the till point in the Burgh boozer, while there will also be screens to create seating areas where it is not possible to separate the tables to the social distancing requirement.

The company says it has "undertaken extensive employee consultation" to ensure that staff and customers are safe before re-opening and gloves, masks and protective gear will be provided to team members.

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There will be an average of 10 hand sanitiser dispensers around the pub, including at the entrance for customers and staff to use.

Every employee will need to complete and sign a daily health assessment questionnaire to confirm that they are fit to work and this will include having their temperature taken using a digital thermometer.

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.

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Heather Dickson, manager at The Henry Bell, said: “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.

“The safety of staff and customers is paramount.”

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