Pub Becomes 'First In Britain' To Demand Proof Of Covid-19 Vaccine Or Negative Test
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Norwich landlord Phil Cutter and his staff will need to see proof of at least one jab or a registered negative lateral flow test result before allowing patrons entry to The Gardeners Arms - or The Murderers, as it is more commonly known.
The rule is coming into effect from tomorrow (Saturday 17 July), ahead of 'Freedom Day' on Monday, when Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted.
Phil said he isn't aware of any other pubs that have brought in the rule as of yet, but he wouldn't be surprised to see others follow suit, as it is 'common sense'.
The 50-year-old said he made the decision after two of his staff tested positive, meaning they had to close for 10 days.
Speaking to the Norwich Evening News, he explained: "All it takes is one person to come in with some semblance of the virus to pass it on.
"We need to get everybody in the same boat and make it a blanket rule for a minimum two-week period.
"We are trying to make it as difficult for people as possible so that they get the vaccine and think, 'I want to go down to the pub so I better get mine done.'"
However, Phil said his policy drew a backlash from anti-vaxxers, with people threatening to vandalise the historic pub.
He told the BBC: "At first there was a lot of support for my decision.
"But then I think the post was hijacked by anti-vaxxers and suddenly there were hundreds of really vile messages.
"People were threatening to smash the pub windows, and calling me a Nazi and a discriminator.
"They were even picking on people who supported my decision, and trolling them as well."
He has since clarified the pub's policy in a Facebook post, explaining that the decision was made 'to protect our customers, staff, family and the wider community'.
He said: "Our intention is not to coerce the public into vaccination - this is clearly free will - however, in the same way that we have a different opinion to others in regard to vaccinations, we should not be vilified for holding an alternative opinion to a minority of others."
He added that the policy was not discriminatory, but simply an entry requirement.
He said: "It's not a lot different to the 'no jeans, no trainers' rule that a lot of venues had when I was younger."