Some UK Councils have set up “enforcement teams” to patrol pubs from next week. The enforcers will look for customers who are not wearing facemasks or not sitting exclusively with their own group.
Government guidance says customers should wear a mask inside the pub if using the toilet or paying at the bar. The government has not requested that customers wear masks outdoors. Councils are going a step further. According to The Telegraph:
Landlords have been told they must enforce mask-wearing by their customers when they are walking around beer gardens, despite national guidance that only requires face coverings indoors.
Councils have set up enforcement teams that will patrol pubs looking for rule-breakers, and landlords fear they could face fines if their customers are caught……
Stosie Madi, owner of the Parkers Arms pub near Clitheroe, contacted the council to ask if the notice was a “misprint” and whether her customers needed masks outdoors. A council official told her face coverings must be worn in her beer garden unless her customers are eating and drinking.
Speaking to The Telegraph she said;
“The council said they had set up a task force that will go around enforcing this. For me the worry is, what happens when a task force comes into my garden and sees a customer walking from his table and going to his car without a mask?
“What do they do? Are they going to turn around and penalise me in some way?”
UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said that she’d heard from landlords who told her that they’d received similar orders from their local authority’s.
Last week, The British Beer & Pubs Association said that 10,000 pubs would close their doors for good this year. Local authority’s should be doing all they can to facilitate the reopening of the hospitality sector, not threatening businesses with enforcement teams.