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The landlord of a Plymouth pub has defended not allowing customers in if they're unvaccinated – to protect his older regulars.
The Minerva Inn recently announced that anyone wishing to enter the establishment would first need to show proof that they had been given both doses of the COVID vaccine.
A posting on the pub’s website states that due to “an age demographic” of regulars, they “reserve the right to limit the number of people into the pub by asking that all people attending have been double vaccinated and can show proof”.
The posting adds that this can be in the form of a vaccination card or the NHS app, adding: “We appreciate your understanding on this issue and it is there to protect both our customers and staff.”
Landlord Martin Jones has stood by his decision in the face of criticism, with one younger pub-goer telling ITV News that he had only not had both doses of the jab because of his age.
But Jones said he would change his policy if he thought he was being discriminatory or breaking the law – and while the policy is a “temporary measure”, it will stay in place for the time being.
He said: "The reason behind it is that a lot of our regulars are, I would say, 55 plus, on average.
Watch: Scotland to require vaccine passports for nightclubs and large events
"When things opened back up, they said they didn't want to come back if there was loads of youngsters there not double-jabbed, not protected.”
Jones said he didn’t like turning people away but his regulars “have supported us throughout the pandemic”.
He added: "This isn't beneficial to us as a business, we're actually losing business because of it.”
Yahoo News UK has contacted the Minerva Inn for further comment.
The scheme is similar to the vaccine passports that the government plans to introduce for nightclubs and larger venues at the end of this month.
Members of the public would be required to show proof they have had two doses of a COVID vaccine in order to gain entry for larger-scale events – despite the idea having previously been met with criticism from MPs in both main parties.
Vaccines ministers Nadhim Zahawi has been urged to “rediscover the courage of his own convictions” on vaccine passports after previously labelling the idea “discriminatory”.
Zahawi was reminded of his former opposition to the passport concept as Conservative MPs this week voiced concerns over the proposal.
But he said concerns over the “potential of self-testing fraud” is among the reasons for the shift away from access to a venue based on a negative COVID test.
Tory backbenchers have also described the passport policy as “unsupportable”.
Richard Fuller, the MP for North East Bedfordshire, told Zahawi in the Commons on Wednesday: “The measures as presented by the minister today are unsupportable.
“They are unsupportable because they are bereft of any rationale. And I would ask the minister to think very carefully about whether this government wishes to take powers which were deemed to be emergency powers, and make them normal powers of a government in a free society?
“I for one think that’s extremely unwise and there is no case for them.”
Responding, Zahawi said that passports are “a measure that we are having to take” and would “rather take arrows from colleagues” than have to close nightclubs if the virus spreads.
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