Angry customer blasts Garstang pub for following Covid rules

The manager of a Garstang pub has spoken out of one of her staff was reduced to tears by a customer who raged after being told that he would have to abide by restrictions on household mixing while on the premises.

By Paul Faulkner
Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 12:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 10:39 pm

The 17-year-old server at The Bellflower on Parkside Lane was “verbally abused” during the incident on Sunday, after a man objected when he was advised that he could not sit with people he did not live with.

Localised Covid restrictions introduced across Lancashire last week made it illegal to visit people from other households in private homes or gardens, with the exception of those within a support bubble.

Although not against the law, residents were also requested not to mix with other households in any public venue – guidance which was strengthened just 48 hours before the dispute at The Bellflower to “strongly advise” socialising with anybody in any setting, indoors or out.

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The Bellflower in Garstang is abiding by local authority guidance not to allow people from different households to sit together (image: Google Streetview)

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Against that backdrop, The Bellflower’s general manager Heather Brandwood took to Facebook to reveal that one of her staff had been forced to deal with an “exceptionally rude” man who “was not too happy that we were following these rules and regulations”.

“Working in this current climate is difficult enough without people going out of their way to be cruel and unkind and make the serving team cry – that kind of behaviour is not acceptable,” she wrote.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service was preparing to speak to Ms. Brandwood about the matter before PR representatives of the pub chain Marston’s stepped in and advised that they were “not looking to discuss the incident further”.

However, County Cllr Shaun Tuner, who chairs Lancashire’s coronavirus outbreak management board and represents the Wyre Rural East division in which The Bellflower sits, condemned the attitude of the confrontational customer.

“Heather has been doing exactly the right thing by running a Covid-secure business – so it’s particularly unwelcome for someone to react like this.

“There may be some confusion about the rules and fatigue might also be setting in, but in the face of rising case numbers, we all have a part to play.

“It’s certainly not fair for somebody to be having a blast at staff in this way,” said County Cllr Tuner, who added that he knew from first-hand experience the difficulties of running a business during the pandemic.

The Bellflower helped to feed the local community during the nationwide lockdown earlier this year.