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City pub to seat drinkers outside despite fear over social distancing rules

PUBLISHED: 06:00 15 September 2020 | UPDATED: 07:54 15 September 2020

Owner of the Louis Marchesi pub in Tombland, Lisa Atkins. Picture: Jacob Massey

Owner of the Louis Marchesi pub in Tombland, Lisa Atkins. Picture: Jacob Massey

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Drinkers at a city pub will be able to sit outside after owners were granted a tables and chairs licence - despite concerns over social distancing measures.

The Louis Marchesi pub re-opens as lockdown restrictions are eased for pubs and restaurants. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Louis Marchesi pub re-opens as lockdown restrictions are eased for pubs and restaurants. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The owners of the Louis Marchesi pub, at 17 Tombland, applied for permission to put an outdoor seating area outside the venue.

And the application, originally for 19 tables and 76 chairs, was amended to 15 tables and 60 chairs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, at a meeting of the city council’s licensing committee, owner Lisa Atkins, agreed to limit the numbers to a maximum of four tables and eight chairs.

During the meeting, Green Party councillor Nannette Youssef asked Ms Atkins about Covid-19 secure measures at the pub.

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“I had a slight concern about the current social distancing measures taking place inside the pub,” she said. “I was wondering if you could detail what you’re doing to impose social distancing?

“The reason I ask is I was in the premises the other day. I wasn’t greeted at the door, there was no track and trace and, as far as I saw, everyone was going to the bar to order and pay for drinks. Would you care to respond to that?”

Ms Atkins said: “We have a sign at the doorway - people have to be greeted and then we do the track and trace. We’ve cut all our tables down now - we have seven downstairs and they’re either twos, fours and one is a six.

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“Nobody is allowed at the bar, you’re only to come to the bar to pay or to order a drink when no one else is at the bar.”

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She added: “I’ve got the sign here that is at the door saying ‘we are open please wait to be seated’. and I’ve got all the track and trace papers we’ve had with everybody’s numbers on that we’re keeping.

“I probably wasn’t here at the time but as far I’m aware even when I’m not here we are following those procedures.”

And committee chairman Ian Stuteley said: “It may be just some staff retraining on that one.”

While Labour councillor Julie Brociek-Coulton added: “I’m concerned about people in wheelchairs trying to get past.

“I can’t really visualise whether wheelchairs or pushchairs will have enough space to get past.”

But Ms Atkins said there would be no tables placed at the smallest point outside the pub.

Councillors voted unanimously to grant the licence for four tables, eight chairs, three planters, one litter bin and barriers on the street.

READ MORE: Pub sign to be restored to former glory as local legend’s face is returned


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