Inside Britain's smallest pub too tight to reopen until social distancing is axed

A SEASIDE pub in Lincolnshire is so small that it will not be able to welcome drinkers indoors until social distancing is axed.

The Signal Box Inn, which prides itself on being the "smallest pub on the planet", could accommodate up to six people inside – but there would not be much space left.

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At just 2.4 metres by 2.4 metres, the Cleethorpes pub – located at Lakeside Station, Kings Road – cannot seat customers inside until the one-metre-plus rule is scrapped.

Due to social distancing and table service rules, punters now have to order, drink and eat while seated.

This means that even if there is only one customer in the pub with a staff member, they would break the one-metre-plus rule.

Pub landlord Alan Cowood, 67, and director Pete Bryant, 29, have looked for alternative ways to welcome drinkers without breaking the rules while they wait for social distancing restrictions to be eased.

Mr Bryant said: "Sadly we can't welcome drinkers inside the pub just yet.

"I suppose that's the price we pay for being the smallest bar in the world."

The only option for the Signal Box Inn to welcome customers while social distancing rules remain in place has been to set up a beer garden with outdoor table service.

Mr Bryant said the service has been "extremely popular", especially on sunny days.

Boris Johnson has not confirmed when the one-metre-plus rule will be axed, but earlier this month he said it could be removed in time for summer.

The Prime Minister said: "It looks to me as though June 21, we'll be able to say social distancing as we currently have to do it, the one-metre-plus, I think we have got a good chance of being able to dispense with the one-metre-plus from June 21."

But he still urged caution, adding: "That is still dependent on the data. We can’t say it categorically yet.

"We have got to look at the epidemiology as we progress. We have got to look at where we get to with the disease. But that’s what it feels like to me right now."

A Downing Street source said: "It’s our aspiration to get life back to normal as much as possible.

"An informed guess will tell you that you may have to wear them on the bus or Tube."

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "The Prime Minister’s comments give our sector hope of a return to normality and viability on June 21.

"Given pubs are financially unviable under the current restrictions they face, being able to reopen without any restrictions at all from June 21st is going to be vital to their survival.

"Our recovery only begins when the restrictions are removed, so we hope the Prime Minister will stick to his roadmap and promise of Freedom Day on June 21."

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