Pub says it’s first in Britain to demand proof of Covid vaccine or negative test

A pub has become the 'first in Britain' to demand that punters prove they've had a Covid-19 vaccination or a negative test before they enter.

Phil Cutter, the landlord of Norwich pub The Gardeners Arms (also known as The Murderers, wants to see proof of at least one jab or a registered negative lateral flow test result before customers are allowed to enter.

The rule comes in despite 'Freedom Day' coming into place today (July 19), which sees Covid-19 restrictions lifted.

Phil, 50, says he isn't aware of any other pubs that have brought in the rule as of yet.

However, he says he wouldn't be surprised to see others follow suit, as it is "common sense".

The landlord said he made the decision after two of his staff tested positive for Covid, meaning they had to close for 10 days.

Speaking to the Norwich Evening News, he explained: "All it takes is one person to come in with some semblance of the virus to pass it on.

"We need to get everybody in the same boat and make it a blanket rule for a minimum two-week period.

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"We are trying to make it as difficult for people as possible so that they get the vaccine and think, 'I want to go down to the pub so I better get mine done.'"

Phil says his policy has received a backlash from anti-vaxxers though, with people threatening to vandalise the historic pub.

He told the BBC: "At first there was a lot of support for my decision.

"But then I think the post was hijacked by anti-vaxxers and suddenly there were hundreds of really vile messages.

"People were threatening to smash the pub windows, and calling me a Nazi and a discriminator.

"They were even picking on people who supported my decision, and trolling them as well."

Phil has since clarified the pub's policy in a Facebook post. He explained that the decision was made 'to protect our customers, staff, family and the wider community'.

He said: "Our intention is not to coerce the public into vaccination – this is clearly free will – however, in the same way that we have a different opinion to others in regard to vaccinations, we should not be vilified for holding an alternative opinion to a minority of others."

Phil added that the policy was not discriminatory, but simply an entry requirement.

He added: "It's not a lot different to the 'no jeans, no trainers' rule that a lot of venues had when I was younger."

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