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Pub Refuses To Serve Pensioner Who Had No Smartphone To Use NHS App

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Pub Refuses To Serve Pensioner Who Had No Smartphone To Use NHS App

A pensioner was refused service at his local pub because he didn't have a smartphone.

David Walters was unable to log into the NHS Test and Trace app to register his visit to The Angel Of Corbridge, Northumberland, recently.

As a result, the 78-year-old was told by staff that he was not going to be served.

Speaking to The Telegraph about the incident, Mr Walters said it was disgraceful and that the pub was a way for him to be around other people.

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He told the publication: "I'm coming up to 79, and sadly I'm living alone because my wife died two years ago.

"So I'm all alone now. It's been bad enough being put out to grass, and I've not seen anybody for months because I'm not allowed to, because I'm considered to be extremely vulnerable.

"This was going to be the first time I could get out.

The pub refused David Walters service because he didn't own a smartphone. Credit: The Angel Inn
The pub refused David Walters service because he didn't own a smartphone. Credit: The Angel Inn
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"I just thought it was terrible. Older people like me don't have this computer knowledge because we weren't brought up with computers.

"I thought it was really ageist because they should know that people of my age can't use this sophisticated equipment."

In England, punters need to register with the app whenever they visit a pub, bar or restaurant.

If a customer does not own a smartphone, like Mr Walters, government guidelines suggest offering a paper record.

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Since Mr Walters' story was first reported, the landlord of the Angel has come out and apologised.

In a statement shared to Facebook, they said Mr Walters would be welcomed back for free drinks as a way of making amends.

It read: "After following guidelines, we have made a mistake and we are sorry. Everyone is welcome at The Angel.

"We will be personally apologising to David and inviting him over for drinks on the house."

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Mr Walters was devastated to be turned away from his local.
Mr Walters was devastated to be turned away from his local.

Experts have revealed that the focus on a digital sign-in disproportionately affects the elderly.

Caroline Abrahams, the Charity Director at Age UK, said: "As we start to emerge from the pandemic it seems that many pubs and restaurants are requiring customers to pre-order using a smartphone, which automatically rules out about half of those aged 65 to 74, and 70 percent of the over-75s because they do not use one.

"This risks widening the digital divide and reducing the opportunities for some older people to enjoy socialising once again.

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"We fully understand the need for venues to pay attention to infection control but it would be helpful to their bottom lines, as well as to older people, if they ensure that smartphone use is not a precondition for buying a drink or a meal."

Featured Image Credit: David Walters

Topics: covid, lockdown, Restaurant, Bars, Pubs, Coronavirus, Covid-19

Dominic Smithers
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