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Covid: Bring cash to pubs to beat indoor payment rules

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Pubs will open for outdoor drinking on Monday April 12 (Picture: Getty)

Drinkers should take cash to the pub when they reopen outdoors on Monday due to ‘control freak’ government rules banning indoor payments, industry figures have warned.

Landlords fear that rural broadband and mobile signal means that card machines will be difficult to use in pub gardens in some areas.

Some pubs and bars also have licensing restrictions that do not allow them to take payments outdoors.

Industry leaders met officials on Tuesday to push for a U-turn amid fears the indoor payment rule could shut out a third of the sector from reopening.

According to The Telegraph, ministers will attempt to change the rules before Monday so customers can go inside as a ‘last resort’.

An internal memo seen by newspaper shows that ‘indoor payment will be allowed, but only as a last resort, i.e. where portable card payment or cash payment isn’t an option’.

Guidelines banning indoor payments could stop pubs in rural areas from being able to reopen (Picture: Shutterstock)
Punters are being urged to bring cash to pay safely outdoors (Picture: Getty)

But drinkers are being urged to consider taking cash anyway so they do not need to leave their tables to pay. 

Tim Martin, the boss of the JD Wetherspoon pub chain, said the new rules showed the Government had ‘lost the plot with its control freakery’.

‘Publicans will have to jump through fiery hoops yet again to comply with this daftness,’ he said.

‘A sensible set of rules was agreed last summer involving inside use of pubs. There were no virus outbreaks at all in Wetherspoon pubs and there were almost none in the industry. The UK Government makes the EU look like a bastion of sensible regulation.’

Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of the industry body UKHospitality, said: ‘Be reassured that we will look after you well, and we will process payments.

‘But people need to remember their phone in order to check in for Test and Trace, and they need to remember a mask for walking through into the beer gardens, as well as some cash.’ 

Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that pubs can reopen for outside drinking on April 12 as planned under his roadmap out of lockdown.

He said: ‘I can today confirm that from Monday April 12 we will move to step two of our roadmap, reopening shops, gyms, zoos, holidays campsites, personal care services like hairdressers and of course beer gardens and outdoor hospitality of all kinds.

‘And on Monday the 12th I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips.’

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