Pub adds electric fence to remind customers of social distancing

The fence is completely legal and is switched off, the landord said.

July 14, 2020, 12:27 PM

LONDON -- Many proprietors of pubs and restaurants in Britain have been forced to come up with atypical methods to serve customers in a world of social distancing.

But while table service, sanitizing stations and one-way systems have become essential to the pub experience, one landlord has gone one step further to protect staff and customers: the installation an electric fence.

PHOTO: An electric fence installed at the bar area of The Star Inn, to ensure customers are socially distanced from staff while ordering drinks, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cornwall, Britain July 14, 2020.
An electric fence installed at the bar area of The Star Inn, to ensure customers are socially distanced from staff while ordering drinks, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cornwall, Britain July 14, 2020.
Tom Nicholson/Reuters

Jonny McFadden, landlord of the Star Inn in Cornwall, said that the electric fence has so far been effective in helping his customers maintain their distance since bars and restaurants reopened in the U.K. earlier this month.

"If I had put a little bit of rope there, I don't think anybody would have taken this much attention," he said. "I run a very small bar. Everybody is accustomed to sitting at the bar, pushing at the bar. They can't do that now. Things have changed."

PHOTO: An electric fence installed at the bar area of The Star Inn, to ensure customers are socially distanced from staff while ordering drinks, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cornwall, Britain July 14, 2020.
An electric fence installed at the bar area of The Star Inn, to ensure customers are socially distanced from staff while ordering drinks, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cornwall, Britain July 14, 2020.
Tom Nicholson/Reuters

"People are like sheep," he added. "Sheep keep away, people keep away."

McFadden said he'd been assured the fence was completely legal if adequate warnings are provided, and while the fence is switched off, customers still had the "fear factor" to make sure they comply with the government's guidance on social distancing.

"There is a serious point to it," McFadden said. "We've all got to keep social distancing."

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