Lancashire bar opens but owner calls for clarity on rules

A Poulton bar has managed to open to customers after lockdown despite a last minute scare

By Tim Gavell
Thursday, 15th April 2021, 12:30 pm

The Cube Bar in Breck Road has had to cut the number of outdoor seats at the last minute after being told its beer garden booths did not comply with safety regulations.

It means staff have struggled to accommodate bookings taken in good faith in the run up to reopening.

Owner Paul Mellor said: “While we have been able to re-open to some extent, we have still had to reduce the seating capacity in our Covid-safe booths by 50 per cent due to the government’s lack of clarity in the new guidelines.

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The Cube BAr in Poulton has opened to outdoor seated customers. Pictureds is owner Paul Mellor's daughter Danielle

“It states: ‘To be considered outdoors, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50 per cent of the area of their walls open at all times while in use.' But this raises questions over whether outdoor structures, such as igloos, greenhouses, sheds, tents and beach huts, are allowed.

“It’s ridiculous, a marquee that could fit 200 people in with two open sides is compliant, but a small beach hut that only fits a bubble of 4-6 from one family with one open side doesn’t comply. How can that be safer for anyone?”

He said after getting the bad news from Wyre Borough Council just three days before opening, he said they were being supportive and were working with them to identify extra outdoor space, so that we can accommodate all the bookings.

He added: “But the Prime Minister needs to urgently clarify the situation, so that we and other pubs in the same situation can fully re-open our Covid-secure outdoor space safely and, importantly, create a level playing field for everyone across the country.

Wyre Council has said the booths in the beer garden do not comply withcoronavirus safety rules

“I’m frustrated that we‘re having to do all this, with the additional expense and considerable lost revenue, on top of everything else over the past 12 months.”

He said pubs with exactly the same type of Covid-secure booths in other parts of the country, such as Manchester, Liverpool and Cheshire, have been able to re-open exactly the same as they had been last year.

Wyre council said: "We have explained to the Cube and other businesses opening for outside sales. Wyre council have provided advice to the Cube about specific changes they need to make to ensure their outdoor seating areas comply with the guidance, which will reduce the capacity of numbers being able to attend. We have not said that they cannot reopen."

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