City landlord welcomes getting customers "back to the bar" but warns of need to avoid future lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson may have announced that Covid restrictions are set to be lifted on July 19 - but one Preston landlord has warned it must not be at the price of imposing further restrictions in the future. He also reveals how staff have been threatened when asking people to wear masks.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 7:46 pm

Paul Butcher, licensee of Preston’s Stanley Arms, said the real boost to business will come when people can order directly at the bar.

He said he would welcome lifting the obligation to wear masks, but added: “It’s not the masks. What would boost the business is losing table restrictions and getting back to being able to serve people at the bar, rather than having double the amount of staff out to do half the amount of trade.”

Paul believes pubs, such as his on Lancaster Road in the city centre and other hospitality venues, had carried the brunt of enforcing regulations such as mask wearing and it had lead to some difficult conversations with some customers not accepting or understanding why they had to wear masks to walk from the door to their pre-booked table where they could then take their mask off. He said: “People have sworn at us and threatened to punch us because we asked them to wear a mask.”

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Paul Butcher, licensee of the Stanley Arms, Preston
Paul Butcher, licensee of the Stanley Arms, Preston

He continued: “The wearing of masks is lunacy anyway. As far as our pub goes most of our tables are within four yards of the door, six yards tops. We’ve got to have arguments with people at the front door for them to wear a mask for six yards before they sit down.”

He said the danger of infection was not in walking to the table but in people sneezing, coughing and touching surfaces.

He was also mindful of the rising numbers of Covid cases and said: “ I think we welcome the lifting of all restrictions but not at the expense of going into future measures through the rest of the year.”

He complained there had appeared to be an inconsistent application of the social distancing measures - with for example, social distancing not observed among scenes of supporters at the England v.Germany match for example. Meanwhile businesses still faced an administrative burden sorting the new furlough arrangements too.

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