Portsmouth landlords say Boris Johnson idea to only allow vaccinated customers in pubs is 'fraught with difficulties'

PUBLICANS have said Boris Johnson’s suggestion it could be left up to them to decide whether to only permit customers who have been vaccinated against coronavirus is ‘fraught with difficulties’.

By Steve Deeks
Thursday, 25th March 2021, 4:44 pm
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 3:49 pm

The prime minister said on Wednesday that it ‘may be up to individual publicans’ whether they require customers to have a ‘Covid vaccination certificate’.

Minister Michael Gove is reviewing the possible use of coronavirus status certificates under plans to ease England’s lockdown.

But the use of certificates may not be as straightforward as vaccine or no vaccine, as recent negative test status may also be considered and landlords may be incentivised to employ them.

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Emma Parry and manager Steve Hudson in The Kings, Albert Rd, Southsea. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (040720-22)

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Speaking following the mooted idea, Steve Hudson, landlord at The Kings, Albert Road, Southsea, said: ‘It will be pretty tricky to introduce especially for the regular pub customer who just walks in.

‘You’ve got groups like pregnant women (who are not vaccinated) who will be excluded. It will be difficult to weed out who’s had the vaccination and who hasn’t.

‘It is fraught with difficulties. I don’t think it is practical.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnston illustrating the safest distance between hands for the handshake.

Steve Kingsley, owner of Kingsley's in Osborne Road, Southsea, said: ‘It was common sense for (Boris Johnson) to say that. He was covering himself.

‘It’s a difficult one because you want the finance but you don’t want people to catch it (Covid). It probably would affect us.

‘You don’t know how people will react. You will lose a group of customers if one of them hasn’t been vaccinated and they all leave.

‘It is practicable though. If everyone were to bring an ID card like at sport then people would get use to it and it could work.’

Meanwhile trade bodies said making access conditional on jabs is ‘simply unworkable’ and would cause ‘conflict’ between staff and punters.

Tory lockdown sceptic Steve Baker further warned the move could create a ‘two-tier Britain’, while Labour frontbencher Ed Miliband said it would be wrong to leave the public health measure up to pub landlords.

Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Shepherd Neame pub group, ruled out making vaccines mandatory for entry to his premises.

‘I think it’s absolutely fine to exclude people where there is a situation of bad behaviour or drunkenness, and that’s already enshrined in law,’ he said.

‘But if you’re going to exclude people for what they are, or what they have not done, that’s a wholly different issue which does touch on discrimination, civil liberties, and in this case data

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the UKHospitality trade body, said it is ‘crucial’ that visits to pubs and restaurants are not subject to mandatory vaccination certification.

‘It is simply unworkable, would cause conflict between staff and customers and almost certainty result in breaches of equality rules,’ she said.

The British Beer and Pub Association said the requirement would not be ‘appropriate or necessary’.

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