Rule-breaking drinkers could be barred under new Covid-19 Pubwatch scheme

9/8/20: Story and photograph courtesy of Stoke Sentinel

Quinn Reardon-Garlick has signed up 33 venues to his Covid-19 Pubwatch group. 

Drinkers who refuse to abide by social distancing regulations could soon find themselves banned from every pub in North Staffordshire.

Quin Reardon-Garlick, who runs non-profit culture and entertainment magazine Mark! has set up a Covid-19 Pubwatch group.

So far 33 pubs have signed up, but it is open to all bars across North Staffordshire – the only requirement is that a track and trace system must be set up.

The idea is that licensees can share information about customers who may have been banned for flouting social distancing rules.

They can then be banned from all pubs within the scheme.

It is run on a very similar basis to the old Pubwatch schemes, which used to target drunk and disorderly customers – but this is aimed at people who break coronavirus rules.

Quin, aged 41, of Stoke, said: “It’s a way of helping to make sure that pubs stay open.

“If people keep on breaching the guidelines then it is going to get pubs closed down.

“The idea is to remind people about following the guidance.

“If you are asked to leave from one pub, then that pub can then contact all the other pubs in the scheme and you can be barred from all of them.

“If you have done something to breach safety in the pub, then the licensees can let each other know.

“It’s the pubs trying to get together and work in unity.

“So far we have got 33 pubs signed up. We’ve got pubs from Stoke, Stone, Stafford, it’s for the whole of North Staffordshire.

“The only requirement is that you have a track and trace system.”

Pubs involved in the scheme are kept up to date via telephone. If someone is banned from one pub, the message is sent out to bar them from all pubs within the scheme.

It comes after the Crown and Anchor in Stone was linked to an outbreak of Covid-19.

The pub made national headlines after revellers were photographed in a crowded beer garden and many then had to be tested for coronavirus.

Sally Keenan, who runs The Glebe in Stoke, said: “It’s something that we can do to raise confidence and help each other out in the trade.

“We reopened on July 7. We haven’t had any problems yet. We have track and trace; we take everyone’s name and address when they come in and we do table service.

“But this is extra peace of mind.

“It’s something pubs have done in the past with people who were drunk and disorderly.

“But this time the emphasis is on coronavirus and keeping everyone safe.

NPW Editors comment:

This is an interesting response for dealing with customers who will not conform to Covid-19 social distancing rules. However the problem at the heart of the issue seems to be that customers are being anti-social and therefore we think that a local partnership response could provide a more sustainable model. Local Pubwatch members know their community and have a vested interest in working together with the Police and other stakeholders to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. They will be there for the long term; not just during this current pandemic.