Bath pub manager ‘worried’ about large party bookings

Marlborough Tavern. BathImage copyright Google
Image caption Bath Pub Company manages the Marlborough Tavern, Hare and Hounds and Locksbrook Inn

A pub manager says it is “crazy” and “worrying” the number of large party bookings he has had ahead of reopening.

Pubs in England have been closed since March but are allowed to reopen with some restrictions from this weekend.

Government guidelines restrict “indoor gatherings” to just two households.

But Joe Cussens, from Bath Pub Company, said parties of up to 20 had been trying to book and it “should not be up to my staff to challenge customers” on whether they are following guidance.

It was announced on 23 June that pubs and restaurants in England would be allowed to offer table service inside from Saturday.

According to government guidance, indoor gatherings “should only be occurring in groups of up to two households” or a “group of at most six people from any number of households”.

Image copyright Joe Cussens
Image caption Joe Cussens said larger groups had to “explain their situation”

Mr Cussens, who manages three pubs in the Bath area, said he “can’t believe the number of large party booking inquiries” they have received for reopening weekend.

He said: “I had a group of 20 which tried to book and I said: ‘No, no way.’

“I also had a group of 15, which again we declined. It just seems crazy.”

He said his pubs were accepting groups of up to eight but “it’s not really up to us to be policing it”.

“More than eight people, we’re getting them to explain their situation,” he said.

“But they [customers] should be policing themselves, it should not be up to my staff to quiz people on their domestic arrangements.”

‘Take personal responsibility’

Avon and Somerset Police said it had a “significant policing plan” in place for this weekend.

Supt Mark Edgington said it was important people “take personal responsibility”.

“Capacity in many places will be significantly reduced and we advise people to check in advance whether a venue will be able to accommodate them,” he said.

“If you arrive somewhere and establish that distancing isn’t achievable, reassess your plans and don’t put yourself and others at risk.”

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