Pub puts phone outside so drinkers can pre-order in lockdown loophole

A pub has found a ‘tongue in cheek’ loophole so staff can continue to serve takeaway drinks during lockdown.

The Red Lion and Sun pub in Highgate, London placed a telephone a few metres away from its outside bar so customers can ‘pre-order’ their drinks before immediately collecting them.

It comes as pubs and restaurants have been forced to close until at least December 2 as coronavirus cases soar across the country.

But ahead of the second national lockdown, the Government made a partial U-turn, stating customers can still purchase drinks to take away as long as they are pre-ordered.

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The pub shared a video over the weekend of its hilarious new system on Twitter, with the caption: ‘Don’t forget to pre-order your drinks.’

The clip shows an area outside the pub, where they have placed a phone and sanitising wipes on a table alongside a sign that reads: ‘You can order your drinks via this phone.’

The video then follows the phone cord, which stretches along a walkway towards the pub’s outdoor bar where another phone sits, waiting to be picked up by the staff.

Heath Ball, manager of the Red Lion and Sun, told that staff set up the system last week to ‘take the p**s’ out of the Government’s ‘ridiculous’ new rules – because they are still technically complying with them.

He said: ‘This is a laugh. This makes no sense. You can go to the supermarket and the corner shop to buy beers but they’re telling us that customers have to pre-order.

‘All it’s done is give us more work to do. We have all these people out front trying to ring the phone. We had a telephone line and a WhatsApp but it was still a mess.

‘So I just ordered a couple of phones off Amazon, got a lead to join the two together and thought: “There we go. I’m complying with the law.”‘

Heath said the idea is ‘pure tongue in cheek’, adding: ‘All we’re doing is complying with the law but it’s so ridiculous that we are just showing how ridiculous it is.’

The pub manager also called on the Government to ‘give us a chance to stay open’.

He said: ‘They keep on laying down all these obstacles for us to trade but this is my business, I employ a lot of people and I’m just here trying to keep people in jobs.

‘Right now we can’t trade. It’s really hard trying to make money and keep the business going.

‘If we’re open, we’ve got more control. We’ve got hand sanitiser, we can check temperatures and we can control the flow. Where would you rather be? A safe environment in a pub or out on the street drinking with 200 people?’

On Twitter, the pub also shared its phone number and wrote: ‘We’re pleased to announce that we will be open throughout lockdown V2 for food and drink takeaways and deliveries.

‘You are able to purchase wines, beers, frozen margaritas from us, however, in line with the law, you must pre-order drinks from us via the phone and collect.’

Meanwhile, Twitter users were quick to flood the post with comments about the inventive new system.

While some expressed concern about the phone itself as a potential surface of transmission for the disease, others loved it.

One wrote: ‘Genius idea’ while others said: ‘Love it’ and, ‘Nice one, well done’.

Another commenter said: ‘AWESOME….. Go for it. XXXX So proud, can’t tell you. XXXXXX.’

Addressing those who have criticised the system, Heath said: ‘Call us on your own phone. We aren’t forcing you to use that system.

‘But to be honest, most people are just laughing – in a good way. We’re just taking the p**s. They know how ridiculous this system is.’

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