Hereford Wetherspoon’s in trouble over social distancing in queue

THE Wetherspoon pub in Hereford has been told it must do better after people were spotted not socially distancing in large queues.

Throughout the day on Saturday (April 17), people eager for the cheap food and drink the chain is famed for lined up outside as they waited for a table in the beer garden.

But the pub was slapped with an improvement notice from Herefordshire Council after officers caught people not socially distancing in the queue.

A spokesperson for JD Wetherspoon, which runs the Kings Fee in Hereford, said the door staff were preoccupied when the council visited.

Hereford Times: The queue outside JD Wetherspoon's The Kings Fee, Commercial Road, on Saturday afternoon The queue outside JD Wetherspoon’s The Kings Fee, Commercial Road, on Saturday afternoon

Current coronavirus restrictions in England mean pubs, restaurants and cafes can only serve customers outside, with the JD Wetherspoon pub in Commercial Road one of the only in Hereford not to be taking bookings for its tables.

But it says it has a wide-range of safety measures in place, and to date, there has not been any staff test positive for coronavirus to date.

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The spokesperson said that is was following coronavirus rules and only serving people outside, but it meant a queue for entry “built up”.

It was monitored by members of the pub management and later in the day by door supervisors, to ensure that social distancing was maintained.

The people on the door also adviced “once the queue exceeded past a certain point customers were advised that there was no point joining it”.

“At the time the council’s enforcement officers visited the pub, unfortunately the door staff were dealing with another matter and were not in a position to supervise the queue for a short period,” they said.

“We have liaised with the police and Herefordshire Council further to the receipt of the advice notice and have implemented a additional measures to ensure that social distancing is maintained by customers queuing to get in.”

The chain said it takes extremely seriously its responsibilities to ensure all its premises are Covid-secure and has implemented a range of measures in all its pubs that reopened on April 12 to “prevent Covid infection”.

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They added: “While it is not possible to completely eliminate risk, a combination of strict hygiene and strict social distancing measures as well as the fact that all customers are outside, helps to minimise the risk.

“Wetherspoon has not been made aware of any reported cases of Covid-19 amongst staff at the Kings Fee whilst the pub has been open outside of any lockdown.”

The Herefordshire Council trading standards officers are part of the multi-agency taskforce set up to check businesses’ compliance with coronavirus rules and regulations.

On Saturday, PCs Tom Milton and Chris Lowe from West Mercia Police were on patrol in the city centre to check how hospitality businesses were coping with their first weekends open since December.

Hereford Times: PCs Tom Milton and Chris Lowe on patrol in Bridge Street, Hereford, on Saturday PCs Tom Milton and Chris Lowe on patrol in Bridge Street, Hereford, on Saturday

For the first Saturday in more than three months, people were allowed to sit in a Hereford beer garden and socialise with people outside of their household.

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There was also a queue outside De Koffee Pot at the Left Bank Village, near the river Wye, and the officers reminding people to socially distance.

Hereford Times: Police vehicles parked in Bridge Street, near Old Wye Bridge Police vehicles parked in Bridge Street, near Old Wye Bridge

The night was largely incident free, with PCs Milton and Lowe impressed with how most businesses were handling reopening.

The pair did catch a man peeing near Union Street, but had some stern words and gave him some water to wash the area down.

Hereford Times