CONDIMENT sachets, table service-only, one-way systems and socially distant spacing between urinals.

These are just a few of the measures you can expect to see in place when a number of Andover pubs reopen to the public this weekend.

The government has allowed pubs across the nation to reopen as of Saturday, and a raft of measures have been introduced in a bid to keep people safe through the continued easing of lockdown restrictions.

Venues have been advised to consider lowering capacity, staggering entry times, and reconfiguring seating arrangements to ensure people from different households remain at least one metre apart.

But some pubs are going above and beyond the guidelines. Mike and Kate Lawton, who run the Royal Oak in Goodworth Clatford, will be implementing a two-metre rule for returning patrons to err on the side of caution.

“It’s so that we feel more comfortable, my staff feel more comfortable and the customers feel more comfortable,” Mike told the Advertiser.

“And then if people do encroach, there’s a bit more space to play with. If you’re already at one metre then there’s basically no space at all if someone were to pull their chair out.”

Mike admits he is lucky to have large garden area to rely on, where customers can be accommodated more safely.

But it’s not just patrons who he is working hard to protect.

“Some of my staff are apprehensive about it all,” he continued, “but I’ve given them the option and said, ‘I’m not going to tell you to do anything’.

“If they just want to be in the kitchen, they can just be in the kitchen. If they just want to dispense drinks, they can just dispense drinks.”

Mike admits the weekend will be a bit of a step into the unknown, but that preparation is the key to mitigating any risks, adding: “We haven’t got a clue what’s going to happen, but all we can do is be as prepared as we can.”

Other pubs, such as the Weyhill Fair, run by Claire Revius, will be adopting a similar approach, and making the most of their garden space.

“I think the best thing for us to do here is try to keep most of our business outside,” said Claire, “and the pub will be used solely for the facilities.”

Claire has also set up a one-way system with access to be managed from the rear of the pub. There won’t be any staff behind the bar, with table service in operation - and payment will be card only.

Nor will there be any salt and pepper shakers of ketchup bottles, with single-use sachets preferred to help prevent the spread of infection.

She admits to being a bit anxious about the reopen, as it’s such unchartered territory, but so too is she looking forward to the big day.

“I just can’t wait to see everyone,” she said. “It’s so quiet up here so it’ll be so nice to hear people, to hear that laughter, I’ve missed that so much. I think we can all do with a bit of happiness after all this and hopefully opening the pubs is an opportunity to allow that to happen.”

And she’s confident that people will abide by the rules and make the ‘new normal’ work, adding: “We are all in it together, and I think if we all look out for each other we will be alright.”

Of course, not every pub is blessed with the kind of outside space that the Weyhill Fair and Royal Oak have. The Advertiser has reached out to a number of town centre pubs but has so far not received a response.

Wetherspoon’s manager was unavailable for comment but a company spokesperson outlined some of the measures that will be in place at the John Russell Fox, in the high street.

A company statement read: “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 touch points throughout the pubs.

“The John Russell Fox will have screens at the till point.

“There will also be screens to create seating areas where it is not possible to separate the tables to the social distancing requirement.

“Wetherspoon will provide gloves, masks and protective eyewear. Employees can elect whether to wear them or not, subject to government guidelines.

“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.”