Shock and ale: electric fence keeps drinkers back from the bar in English pub

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    By Tom Nicholson

    St JUST, England. – Man walks into a bar, and into an electric fence. It’s not a joke, but rather the novel measure taken by one Cornish pub to enforce distance rules to stop the spread of COVID-19.

    The landlord of Star Inn in the village of St Just, south-west England, has installed an electric fence in front of the bar to make sure that social distancing guidelines are followed.

     “If I had put a little bit of rope there I don’t think anybody would have taken this much attention as they have to an electric fence,” pub landlord Jonny McFadden said.

    Pubs in England were allowed to reopen on July 4, but must implement social distancing measures. That includes minimising staff contact with customers, and reducing the time pub-goers spend at the bar.

    McFadden said the rules represented a big culture change for his pub.

     “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,” he said.

    Although the fence is not turned on, McFadden said that the same logic which works in the nearby farms of rural Cornwall works for the local drinkers too.

    “As long as there’s a warning sign on an electric fence and you are warned about it, it’s totally legal. And there’s the fear factor – it works,” he said.

    “People are like sheep. Sheep keep away, people keep away.”

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