Pub landlord ‘red cards’ 150 Covid rule-breaking punters and vows to ban more

An uncompromising pub landlord has barred 150 people for breaking Covid rules – and his pub only holds 130 people.

Terry Cope, landlord of the Bird in Hand, in Stafford, reopened the pub’s doors to the public last month, but he’s operating a strict one-strike rule on coronavirus regulations.

Terry, 60, who has been a publican for forty years, told Stoke on Trent Live: “I have my whistle and then my red and yellow cards. They get a warning and if they misbehave again they get a red card.

“People think it’s a joke but it’s a serious thing. People aren’t listening, and I was trying to think outside the box and of a novel way which people would notice. When you blow a whistle people stop, the place goes quiet and they do listen."

“I’ve handed out lots of cards," he told StokeOnTrentLive The criteria for a yellow card is people not wearing masks, forgetting to put them on, walking around or moving chairs and tables. They get it if they are not listening to what they are supposed to be doing.

“If you tackle somebody you get a yellow card and if you do it again you get a red card and it’s the same here. They are asked to leave if they get a red card.”

The pub is managed by Terry and his wife Dee but owned by Black Country Ales, and Terry says the company has helped the team out both financially and mentally.

Terry said: “It’s been hard. It’s the most difficult time I’ve ever had in the trade but you look after your staff which is the main thing because they have got mortgages or rent to pay and food to get on the table for their families. My ultimatum was to get the staff looked after.

“We furloughed most of the staff and are taking them back bit by bit now. We’ve got a bit of money coming in. Some of my staff have been with me for seven years. My wife and I treat them like family.

“You are only as good as the staff you have got behind you just like a man is only as good as the woman behind him. I have got a good wife and good staff.”

He added: “They have treated their managers so well and helped us out as much as possible financially and mentally just being there for us.

“If we needed to borrow money before our furloughs came through they were there for us. They were checking on our mental health regularly.

“It was very important for us because we are there for our customers and staff. It’s nice to have somebody there for you.”

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