< Electric Fence Keeps Drinkers Back from Waiters in English Pub
By Jonathan Evans
18 July 2020

A business in southwest England is using an electric fence to enforce social distancing rules to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Johnny McFadden is the landlord of Star Inn, a public house – or pub – in the village of St. Just. He set up the fence in front of the pub's main drinking area to make sure that people keep at least two meters distance away from others.

McFadden said, "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." He spoke to the Reuters news agency.

Johnny McFadden, 61, poses for a photo at the bar area of The Star Inn. An electric fence has been installed at the bar area to ensure customers are socially distanced in St Just, Cornwall, Britain July 14, 2020. (REUTERS/Tom Nicholson)
Johnny McFadden, 61, poses for a photo at the bar area of The Star Inn. An electric fence has been installed at the bar area to ensure customers are socially distanced in St Just, Cornwall, Britain July 14, 2020. (REUTERS/Tom Nicholson)

England is famous for its pubs, where locals gather to enjoy alcoholic drinks and sometimes food. The government gave pubs permission to reopen on July 4, but they must enforce social distancing measures. That includes limiting pub employees' contact with customers, and reducing the time customers spend at the bar.

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

"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.

The fence is not actually turned on. But McFadden said that the same logic which works in the nearby farms of rural Cornwall also works for the local drinkers.

He said, "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."

McFadden added, "People are like sheep. Sheep keep away, people keep away."

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Tom Nicholson reported on this story for the Associated Press. Jonathan Evans adapted this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

accustomedadj. being in the habit or custom

customern. someone who buys goods or services from a business

factorn. something that helps produce or influence a result

landlordn. a man who runs an inn, pub, or rooming house

logicn. a proper or reasonable way of thinking about or understanding something

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