'I'm not going to alienate the younger population' - publicans sceptical of vaccine certificates

Sisters and business owners Simone Hopwood and Leona Gard at Welly's Smokehouse in Cromer, part of t

Sisters and business owners Simone Hopwood and Leona Gard at Welly's Smokehouse in Cromer, part of the Wellington freehouse on Garden Street. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

North Norfolk pub and restaurant owners have expressed concern over potential vaccine certificates saying they could risk alienating those who are yet to be offered the jab.

It comes after reports that a government review is looking at potentially asking drinkers to prove they have been vaccinated via a certificate before they can return to pubs.

The reports, unconfirmed by government, include that punters may have to use an app or QR code on their mobile phone to confirm they have had the jab or a recent negative Covid test.

Bev Holland, who owns the White Swan in North Walsham said she could see herself using certificates in exceptional circumstances, but said she would not be looking to make it them a full-time requirement, as she trusted her customers and did not want to exclude those yet to have been offered the jab.

The White Swan in North Walsham. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske

The White Swan in North Walsham. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

She said: "It's not set in stone but they're saying they might be able to allow publicans to ask for proof of vaccination or negative Covid tests.


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"To be honest, 99 pc of people are sensible anyway, nobody is quite as thick as you see in the media generally speaking.

"If there's anybody I don't know then I may ask them 'are you jabbed up?' but generally no, because my customers, the ones I've spoken to everyone has said they're having it or had it.

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"In April the younger ones won't have been offered it yet, but to be honest most of them go outside anyway.

"I'm not going to alienate the younger population just because they've not been fortunate enough to have the jab yet."

Simone Hopwood, co-owner of The Wellington in Cromer said she would be happy to ask for proof of Covid status, but said the scheme would mean no staff would be able to work as they are yet to be offered the vaccine.

She said: "It wouldn't bother me on a personal level we ask people for ID all the time and young people are used to it.

"It's a tough one. Me and my staff wouldn't be able to come to work [because we haven't been vaccinated].

"I had thought about it and that eventually we would need to have ID to come in and I think that's probably a good thing to get back on the road but if you look at [the idea] a bit deeper, I don't think it would work."

Richard Knights, manager of Byfords in Holt, said he was unsure of whether to bring in the scheme or not, when his restaurant reopens in May.

Byfords shop and cafe, Holt.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Byfords shop and cafe, Holt.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

For the time being the business will stick with existing Covid measures while Mr Knights and his team analyse the situation.

He said: "We've got all the precautions in ready for when we reopen, we'll still be expecting customers to wear masks for the time being.

"We're not actually reopening the restaurant until May 17, so until then we're going to wait until we get a clearer idea of where everything is before making a decision on this.

"When we reopen on Monday we're still expecting people to come in wearing face masks and using sanitiser with a limited number of people coming in.

"We're just going to sit pretty and see what comes of everything in the next four weeks and make decisions further down the line."

Graham Deans, landlord of The Lobster in Sheringham, was more positive about the idea, however he said it would not work for everyone.

The Lobster pub at Sheringham. Picture: STOP PRESS via iwitness24.

The Lobster pub at Sheringham. Picture: STOP PRESS via iwitness24. - Credit: citizenside.com

He said: "We would welcome it as a positive way to keep everybody safe.

"It won't work for everybody, the idea will be in the business' interest to make it work as easily as they can to keep the virus at bay.

"It will be a bit more complicated to work out how to do it for each pub and it won't suit every customer and pub."

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