“ALCOHOL and social distancing do not mix”.
That was thoughts of one pub landlord forced to repeatedly remind customers to adhere to social distancing rules.
As lockdown restrictions were eased on July 4, pubs were allowed to reopen. However, on Friday a warning was issued to residents of Carlisle that there had been a spike in Covid-19 positive cases - and people needed to take action to prevent a second wave.
New data published in national newspapers over the weekend named Carlisle as among 20 regions most at risk of local lockdown.
There were 21 news cases in the Carlisle district between July 1 and 7. There were 10 in the rest of the county combined.
Mike Grierson, the landlord of The Royal Scot, Morton, has found it hard since reopening to get people to stick to the rules. He said the rise in cases is a worry, but he is thankful they have a large beer garden, enabling them to welcome more customers.
He explained: “I was apprehensive about how people would react to the social distancing and it’s been quite difficult. But people are starting to adhere and understand it is part and parcel.
“Everyone has been sensible. In the earlier part of the day, people are aware. But as the day goes on you have to just keep reminding people. We have signage every, we’ve moved furniture so there’s less of it and we have protective screens.
“It’s been a long time in getting reopened and we have done everything we can to keep people safe, but we’ve seen a few things on social media which are concerning with people queueing outside premises. The same people do travel round different parts of the city.
“Unfortunately, alcohol and social distancing does not mix. It’s very difficult, but everyone is trying their best.”
A video on social media shows a large queue of people outside the Bomb Shelter, Carlisle on Friday evening. Social distancing was not being observed.
A Bomb Shelter spokesman said: “We have been made aware of a video circulating [from] the early hours of Saturday morning. This is not a representation of the considerable efforts we have made in the reopening of our venue.
“A short video of the outside of our premises is not an accurate portrayal of the strict guidelines that are in place within our venue. What appeared to take place at the door was unfortunately a lack of social distancing, one that we had risk assessed before reopening. There are three control points on our entry system, and once the security team are no longer able to control the crowd at the front door, we fall back to our last resort of shutting the front doors to protect those inside, ourselves and our staff. This part was not captured on the video, so does not truly reflect the events as they unfolded. 
“We have worked closely with all authorities in the run up to reopening, we have complied with all guidelines, adapting our venue to a more pub style environment. I can assure the pubic that the licensing department, the police and environmental health officers are very familiar with the struggle pubs and bars are facing in Carlisle. This is unprecedented times, our local businesses are having to adapt their entire livelihoods to fit within what is for now the new normal. 
“This will take time, but we urge the council, the police, environmental health officers and all other local authorities, to work with businesses and take a multi-agency partnered approach to help businesses adapt. Businesses cannot be left by the police to enforce these guidelines outside of our venues, as we legally do not have the rights, nor powers to do so. 
“We have previously voiced this on social media, with all of our rules viewable on our Facebook page. We urge those who are going out, not just to our venue but to any venue, to please follow the guidelines during these times. We cannot be held accountable for public disregard of the measures outside of our venue, we do not have the powers to enforce it.”
Pat Irwin, 63, from Harraby was drinking at The Cumberland Inn on Saturday. She said: “We’re regulars here. I’ve been so worried about coming out. I feel so good to be back with my friends. 
“I’m very worried about the spike I wasn’t sure if I was going to come out but I feel safe here.”