British pub operator JD Wetherspoon PLC has said that it will continue giving masks to its customers in the UK as well as its employees, and encourage placing orders through mobile applications, despite the lifting of most COVID-19 pandemic-related curbs in England on July 19.
The company will retain most of the social distancing guidelines set last year, but said that it will now allow employees to wear masks at their discretion and permit group visits of more than six persons.
"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," Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin in a statement.
The firm, which owns 860 pubs, said that customers will be able to order at the bar as well, besides placing orders through mobile apps.
Earlier this month, Wetherspoon said that it is planning to seek debt waivers from its lenders for the next financial year after it slumped into a first-half loss in March.
The company was forced to remove hundreds of employees and raise money to get through the health crisis, which forced its pubs to remain shut all through the key Christmas season last year.