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A pub has applied to become 'a place of worship' in the hope of being able to reopen in Tier 3, with a cardboard cut-out of Boris Johnson as the 'vicar'.
Cock N Bull in Stourbridge, West Midlands, has been shut since the start of November when the UK went into the second national lockdown.
But according to the rules, places of worship, like churches and synagogues, were allowed to stay open for services and private prayer - even in Tier 3 areas, like the West Midlands.
Jason Green and David Salmon, who own the bar, have applied for the venue to be registered as a religious meeting place under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855.
They have even made a cardboard cut-out of Boris Johnson, dressed in a Christmas jumper that says 'I'm stuffed', to become the informal Reverend Cock - a title that (they say) comes solely from the bar's name.
A photo of the creation shows him in front of a plaque which reads: "Taking today's service."
Hymns for service include fitting songs, including 'Praise You' by Fatboy Slim, 'Livin' on a Prayer' by Bon Jovi and 'Halo' by Beyoncé.
David, 46, said: "This is an opportunity to get the doors open.
"Nothing is easy in the hospitality industry right now. For the sector to have been punished the way it has is frustrating. There is no correlation between the increase in Covid cases and the use of hospitality.
"It has been nothing short of horrendous. We got little notice of the first lockdown back in March, and a lot of our stock was written off. The furlough and the grant helped, as did the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
"We spent most of the money we got through the grant on making the pub and its sister pubs Covid-secure by introducing screens, one-way systems, renovating outdoor spaces and doing training, and then the brakes came on and the government started punishing hospitality again.
"The 10pm curfew was the maddest thing I've ever known. Nobody could make sense of that."
Stourbridge is less than five miles outside Worcestershire, which has been placed in Tier 2, meaning all pubs there can open if they provide a 'substantial meal'.
Cock N Bull serves a full dining menu, but as the town is part of the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, a large district which straddles more than 12 miles north to south - it's not been given the option.
David, a father of two, added: "Dudley is quite a wide borough. Stourbridge itself in it isn't that bad so there are small pockets of every borough in the country where the rate is smaller.
"We, as have several pubs on this high street, have done everything that has been asked to keep safe. So it is very disheartening to have had to close, especially this time of year. It is a little bit of a protest. We have had to go through such a lot.
"We have applied for this change and it might happen. We are brewing holy communion wine. We are ready. We aren't quite sure on what capacity this will allow.
"We have had a huge amount of support. We have lots of regulars here. The feedback has been so good, which tells you our customers want this too I think. Our fans want to be back in the pub again and want some normality."
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