Sunday, 25 Jul 2021

Pub becomes first-known in Britain to demand customers show proof of Covid vaccination before entry

A PUB has become the first-known in Britain to bar customers unless they can prove they have had a Covid jab.

Landlord Philip Cutter, 50, is to bring in the rule — raising fears that other boozers across the country may adopt their own restrictions.


Many drinkers and the pub industry have backed his decision.

Some anti-vaxxers, however, have called for a boycott and threatened to smash the windows of The Gardeners Arms in Norwich.

Mr Cutter decided to act after he had to shut his pub for ten days — losing a packet during Euro 2020 — when two staff tested positive for coronavirus.

From Saturday, when he reopens, punters must prove they have had at least one jab administered a minimum of two weeks earlier to give time for antibodies to develop.

Drinkers can also use their vaccination card or NHS phone app showing proof of jabs.

Mr Cutter said he did contact Public Health England to ask about doing lateral flow tests instead but they pointed out he would “have to trust the person who submits the details”.

He hopes his entry conditions will keep drinkers and his 25 staff safe — particularly after social distancing and mask rules are dropped next Monday.

He said: “I’ve not heard of any other pubs doing this but it seems a commonsense thing to do to protect my staff, customers and business.

“I know nightclubs have been asked to consider looking into some sort of vaccination passport. We’re a busy, city centre venue so not very different.

“If this Delta variant was not running riot, we’d be looking at things differently but there’s a lot of virus out there.”

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He added: “I’ve had a lot of support from older customers and with about 80 per cent of adults having been vaccinated, I think most will be happy.

“However, one or two people are virulently opposed. It seems we’ve been put on some anti-vax forum and we’ve been inundated with vile messages from all over the country.

“We’ve had personal abuse, people threatening to put our windows through, people hoping we go out of business.”

“We’re not trying to discriminate or embarrass anyone — we’re just trying to make sure people are safe."

Customers at The Gardeners — otherwise known as The Murderers after a landlord’s daughter was killed in 1895 — gave a mixed reaction.

Chloe Gillian posted: “What the hell is wrong with everyone? This is great!

Kaylee Smith, who said she had lost four family members to Covid, added: “This is a good move. If you don’t like their policy, simple, don’t go there!

“Any individual or organisation that wants to protect themselves from it whether it be for health or wealth is entitled to.”

One drinker blasted: “It’ll be a nightmare if every pub has different Covid rules with some wanting proof of vaccination while others have social distancing rules or no rules

“Going on a traditional pub crawl will become really confusing and problematic, especially if you leave your vaccination card at home and you don’t have the NHS app.”

Martin Caffrey, of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, welcomed the move.

He said: “I think publicans are going to have to decide whether they do the same thing.


 

“It’ll be a comfort for customers to know they’re in as secure an environment as possible.

“But there could be problems with people getting around it with fake vaccination cards. It could be a laborious task on the door to get people to produce their NHS app on their phone.”

Nick Griffin, chief executive of The Licensees Association, said: “Ultimately, it will be a commercial decision for most.

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