A pub has become the first-known in Britain to ban customers unless they can prove they have had a vaccine for Covid-19.
The Gardeners Arms in Norwich is bringing in the rule as other pubs across the country are considering a similar move to tackle the Delta variant “running riot”, according to The Sun.
Covid cases hit 54,674 today - the highest daily total since January - as the UK government is dropping requirements for social distancing and wearing masks from Monday.
Landlord Philip Cutter, 50, says he decided to take action after having to close for ten days during the Euro 2020 football tournament when two members of staff tested positive for Covid.
When the pub reopens on Saturday customers must prove they have had at least one Covid jab at least two weeks earlier – the time it takes to develop antibodies to the virus.
Customers can gain entry using their vaccination card, which they receive after getting the jab, or the NHS app, which records their having had the jab.
Mr Cutter said: “I’ve not heard of any other pubs doing this but it seems a common sense thing to do to protect my staff, customers and business.
“I know nightclubs have been asked to consider looking into some sort of vaccination passport. We’re a busy, city centre venue so not very different.
“If this Delta variant was not running riot, we’d be looking at things differently but there’s a lot of virus out there.”
Mr Cutter said he expects most people will be happy with his pub’s new policy since around 80% of adults have been vaccinated.
He said older customers – who are more vulnerable to Covid - are especially supportive of the new policy.
He added:“However, one or two people are virulently opposed. It seems we’ve been put on some anti-vax forum and we’ve been inundated with vile messages from all over the country.
“We’ve had personal abuse, people threatening to put our windows through, people hoping we go out of business.”
He said the pub is not trying to discriminate against people, but does want to keep staff and customers safe.
Customer Kaylee Smith, who said she had lost four family members to Covid, said: “This is a good move. If you don’t like their policy, simple, don’t go there!”
Martin Caffrey, of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, welcomed the move.
He said: “I think publicans are going to have to decide whether they do the same thing.
“It’ll be a comfort for customers to know they’re in as secure an environment as possible.”