Pub owners in the UK face the threat of closure again after a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) suggested they might have to shut down again in order for schools to reopen in September. Prof Graham Medley suggested pubs could be ‘”traded off” to ensure pupils resume attending class by limiting adults’ exposure to the coronavirus in social settings. But Hackney bar owner Jonathan Downey dismissed the suggestion, insisting his staff have been trained “better than NASA astronauts” to ensure the safety of consumers when on a night out.
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Downey said: “Pubs, bars, restaurants are now among the safest spaces in our country.
“We’ve been training our staff better than NASA astronauts for the last few weeks to be prepared to deal with COVID-19 issues.
“I don’t see this is an either or question.”
GMB host Ben Shepard however pointed out some pubs have already been forced to close again after customers were found to have been infected with COVID-19.
But Mr Downey said: “There has been a focus on incidents like that but they are rare. It’s not the norm, this is not what we’re seeing.
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“We’re seeing very carefully-managed businesses across the country and that will continue if we’re allowed to stay open.
“We have to stay open, we have to keep going, we can’t keep locking down. Local authorities have a wide range of powers to take steps and actions where pub owners or pub managers are not operating within the guidelines.
“Those rules already exist and I think we need to allow our businesses to keep going.”
The bar owner warned the UK could be left facing additional economic consequences because of the revenue pubs generate annually.
He continued: “There’s four million people in this country who rely on hospitality for their jobs, that’s 15 percent of the workforce.
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