ONE pub landlord has come up with an unusual way to enforce social distancing in his pub when it re-opens, after branding the new one metre rules a logistical nightmare.

The new rules, outlined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, mean people must still remain one metre (3ft) apart in a bid to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Kevin Barker, who runs The Bear in Silver Street, Bradford on Avon, is very apprehensive about how the new guidelines will operate in practice, saying they could present pub landlords with a logistical nightmare.

He said: “The pub will re-open on July 4 but I don’t see how we can control customers. I don’t see how we can ‘police’ them.

“If we have got a table of six people, it’s not my job to ask if they are all from the same family or from different households.”

So he has put mannequins on every other seat round his tables, so customers will have to sit apart and stay safe, calling it a fun idea which will stop customers being lonely.

Pubs, bars and restaurants will be allowed to re-open on July 4 but only with table service indoors.

Owners and managers will be asked to keep contact details of customers to help with contact tracing.

Mr Johnson said police would still be able to “break up large and irresponsible gatherings” and owners and managers could be fined up to £3,200 if they persistently flout the new guidelines.

James Sullivan Tailyour, owner of The Swan Hotel in Bradford on Avon, said: “We are absolutely delighted by the announcement.

“We are trying to figure out how to operate under the new conditions which we believe will be implemented.

“We are still dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s but we will be offering food and a full range of drinks.

“It’s a relief to have a plan. Before, it was so unsettling because no-one knew what was going to happen. At least we know what’s going on now.

“I don’t think there will be a big take up with visits to pubs when we re-open. I think it will be a slow burn. People will still be nervous about visiting pubs.I think it could take up to a year to repair all the damage that has been done."

Clive Hilton, manager of The Dog & Fox pub in Ashley Road, Bradford on Avon, said: “My pub is small so it’s going to be quite difficult to get people to adhere to social distancing.

“I have been looking at our financial model to how we can safely collect glasses and marshal social distancing if we can’t afford to take on staff.

“I am not going to be offering food immediately when we re-open because it’s going to be difficult to keep people one metre apart when they’re eating.”

Laura Hodges, who runs the Tollgate Inn at Holt with her husband Mark Hodges, says they are already “fully booked” for July 4 and are looking forward to seeing customers.

“It is going to be a new way of trading and a new way of doing things,” she said.