COVID-19NewsCOVID-19 update – restrictions on pubs

15th April 202138
Orange Tree

In our latest update on Step 2 of the Government’s lessening of restrictions (effective 12th April 2021) we indicated that there was some lack of clarity over whether our sport was permitted to be played outside at pub venues.

Our President had been in regular contact with Sport England to try and get an answer on this and he has now received a response.

Unfortunately, the advice is that because pubs are first and foremost hospitality venues and not deemed to be sports facilities, then the playing of sport at pub sites is not permitted under ‘Step 2’. Pub restrictions are such that under “Step 2′ the consumption of alcohol and food can only be undertaken outside whilst seated.

We realise that this will come as a disappointment to our clubs based at pubs, but we hope that it will not be too long before the restriction is lifted.

The better news is that outdoor sports facilities are of course allowed to be used. These are defined in Government Guidance as including outdoor gyms, swimming pools, courts, pitches, golf courses (including mini-golf), water sports venues, climbing walls, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas at riding centres and archery venues.

This means that sports and social clubs who offer pétanque pitches are fine, even though they might offer hospitality through bars and restaurants on site. The consumption of alcohol and food at sports and social clubs should of course only take place whilst seated.

We will update further on this as soon as we can.

38 comments

  • Avatar
    Mike Curd

    15th April 2021 at 7:20 am

    Not sure what happened to the benefits of:
    Being outdoors
    Mental well being
    Physical exercise
    Social interaction
    Mindfulness
    Smiling
    This only goes against all the above and will cause:
    Frustration
    Annoyance
    Stress
    Restraints to the largely elderly proportion of players of our fantastic sport. It is not just disappointing. It is in my opinion wrong!
    Mike

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      15th April 2021 at 7:54 am

      Mike, I’m sure you are not the only one that feels like this. This may not be practical for everyone, but the only suggestion we can make at the moment is for pub-based clubs and players to approach our clubs who operate out of sports facilities to discuss opportunities to play there.

      Reply

      • Avatar
        Mike

        15th April 2021 at 8:23 am

        I get this, but doesn’t help really, can we play in a park? It just adds another layer of complexity and I think means that more people will be tempted to break the rules. I read this that we can’t even play at our Pub applying the rule of 6. So absolutely no play at all!

        Reply

        • Martin Hughes
          Martin Hughes

          15th April 2021 at 8:38 am

          Mike, the restrictions that apply to pubs do not apply to public outdoor spaces. We have been told ‘no sporting activities at pubs are allowed.’

          Reply

  • Avatar
    Gary dowsett

    15th April 2021 at 8:10 am

    The pub where we as a club play has decided not to open therefore we cannot be customers. Does the rule still apply to us.
    Even if the pub was open if while we are playing we made a conscious decision not to buy from it does the rule still apply. The manager of our pub will quite rightly not serve us anyway because we are not seated. Does that affect this totally nonsensical ban on playing.

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      15th April 2021 at 8:31 am

      Gary, that is an interesting question. My take would be that if the pub is not open, then it will have no customers. It is not functioning as a pub. Our advice is that if a pub is open serving customers then it cannot have ancillary sporting activities going on. I will pass this on to our President who has been working with Sport England/DCMS.

      Reply

      • Avatar
        Gary

        15th April 2021 at 8:47 am

        Our club is in the same category as another contributer. Our terrains are at the bottom of the pub car park well away from the building. We have a good relationship with the manager and if we said don’t serve us he wouldn’t (probably lose his licence if he did)so again I add how can we be customers.As for sports clubs being different,how. They still serve food and drinks. Also could we take a load of cans onto the terrain and consume them during our club night. After all it is private property to which the police probably have no duristriction unless there is a complaint

        Reply

        • Martin Hughes
          Martin Hughes

          15th April 2021 at 8:59 am

          Gary, we are in a position where we are trying ourselves to understand the reasoning but like many COVID-19 regulations, the specific circumstances of individual venues are clearly not taken into account. The message we have received is a blanket ‘no’ to sporting activities at pubs at this time. As stated in the article, sports facilities are defined and it has been clearly decided that pubs are not sports facilities. Sports and Social Clubs do indeed often have hospitality attached to them, but our assumption is that these are seen as ancillary uses. My own experience of traveling the country to sports and social clubs where our sport is played is that such venues often host a variety of sports including football, cricket, rugby, tennis, hockey, bowls etc. I am yet to visit a pub where there is anything other than a single outdoor sporting activity played there. That must be the distinction that the Government is applying here.

          Reply

  • Avatar
    SallyAnne Clark

    15th April 2021 at 8:13 am

    What happens when the operation of the pétanque club is on the pub grounds but is separate from the pub (say 30 metres) and operates independently, with its own access? Is this still not allowed?

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      15th April 2021 at 8:36 am

      Sally Anne, on the face of it, you seem to be describing a separate sports facility based on land which is part of a pub. It’s not clear though as to whether customers at the pub also have access? We have been told that operational pubs cannot host sporting activities at this time.

      Reply

  • Avatar
    Susan Lovelock

    15th April 2021 at 8:14 am

    Is it not possible to play if we don’t consume alcohol or food?

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      15th April 2021 at 8:37 am

      Susan, we have been told that operational pubs cannot host sporting activities.

      Reply

  • Avatar
    Roget Smith

    15th April 2021 at 8:24 am

    This is totally nonsensical. We have a local pub where the pistes are at a distance from the pub and fenced off in a separate area. Then we have a social club with a bar attached with Pistes within a few metres of the bar building.
    So the pub is out of bounds and the social club is OK? Total nonsense. Needs immediate change.

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      15th April 2021 at 8:42 am

      Roget, one of the things we have learnt from catch all, universal regulations relating to COVID-19 is that there will always be examples of anomalies like the one you describe. I’m afraid the answer we have received is no sporting activities allowed at pubs. I can assure you that our President will continue to press the case for our sport with the authorities.

      Reply

  • Avatar
    Mike Curd

    15th April 2021 at 8:39 am

    Has anyone told the pubs?

    Reply

  • Martin Hughes
    Martin Hughes

    15th April 2021 at 8:49 am

    Mike, pubs are required to follow the rules that apply to hospitality venues. Our President contacted the authorities because the Government Guidance in our view had certain omissions and certain possible conflicts between the specific guidance for the resumption of amateur sports and that for the operation of re-opened hospitality venues. We also heard via our members that some pub operators were saying that they could not host sporting activity while others did not take that view. In the interest of ensuring our members were not unwittingly at risk of enforcement action by the authorities, we took steps to clarify the position.

    Reply

  • Avatar
    Huw Bowles

    15th April 2021 at 8:58 am

    Will this change from the 17th May or do we have to wait until 21st June?

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      15th April 2021 at 9:04 am

      Huw, thanks for raising that important point. Our President will take this point up. As you know pubs will be allowed to have customers indoors at this point, so we would hope that the restriction on outdoors sporting activities will be lifted. The rules that apply outside now (customers seated) will still apply at Step 3 (17th May), so you will appreciate that this will require a change of stance.

      Reply

  • Avatar
    Gary

    15th April 2021 at 10:02 am

    To labour a point when we were coming out of a previous lockdown and people were allowed in and our of pubs you had to be seated. We could carry on playing. There is no difference now. These rules really are a lot of old rubbish. How can you play at a sports and social club but not at a pub. Both sell food and drink and at both you should be sitting down

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      15th April 2021 at 11:51 am

      Gary, you have a reasonable point of view there. Unfortunately our Government takes a different view at this time.

      Reply

  • Avatar
    Mike Nash (Duke of Wellington PC)

    15th April 2021 at 10:41 am

    Martin, as you know, at The Duke of Wellington our landlord sought guidance from the local council environmental and licensing authorities about playing organised petanque. After consideration they stated they were completely happy for play to take place with a “no food or drink” rule applied to the club area. The Government roadmap makes reference to the consumption of food and drink and the need to be seated and thus I do not understand why there was the confusion that has resulted in play being suspended. For many on our club (particularly the more elderly) the return to play has been hugely uplifting after the long lock-down and Government should reflect upon the well-being of our members. We have no difficulty with implementing the PE Guidelines and social distancing measures. As you have said above the Stage 3 Roadmap makes it clear that the requirement to remain seated whilst consuming food and drink will remain after 17 May. Can we do anything to help you prepare a case to go back to Goverment to reverse this decision?

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      15th April 2021 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks for those comments Mike. Our President is handling the contacts with Sport England and he continues as best he can to put the case. You can contact Clive on president@petanque-england.uk as you may be able to give him some info that will help.

      Reply

      • Avatar
        Mike Nash (Duke of Wellington PC)

        15th April 2021 at 5:24 pm

        Martin, I have e-mailed Clive to offer my support and assistance.

        Reply

        • Martin Hughes
          Martin Hughes

          15th April 2021 at 5:38 pm

          Thanks Mike, much appreciated.

          Reply

  • Avatar
    Fay Golder

    15th April 2021 at 11:16 am

    Thank you Martin for trying to ensure we are all safe and abiding by the rules. Obviously this news is quite upsetting for alot of us, but let’s face it everyone, at least you can all get out now, be grateful for small mercies.

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      15th April 2021 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Fay, let’s all keep positive, every day that goes by means we are closer to seeing our friends and enjoying our game, wherever we play it.

      Reply

  • Avatar
    Mike Stocks

    15th April 2021 at 11:43 am

    I’ve just seen the update, and advised my local pub, that after all our own plans, we can’t play for the time being. Hopefully this will change by June 21, when all restrictions are lifted.

    We should share our frustrations with members of parliment, they may listen. Sadly too many pubs will have issues mixing booze & sports.

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      15th April 2021 at 11:48 am

      Hi Mike, we are seeking advice about whether there might be any lessening of restrictions for the playing of sport at pubs at Step 3 (May 17th), when as you will know, pubs are allowed to have customers indoors. Will update as soon as we have nay feedback on that.

      Reply

      • Avatar
        Mike Stocks

        15th April 2021 at 5:37 pm

        Hopefully things may change sooner rather than later.

        I popped into my local an hour ago to check they had seen the info I had shared, only to find a group from UAE, playing.

        The pub owners were adamant it was OK, as it was a planned private event, and was OK from the information they were working to.
        I’m now more confused. Are we back to different “interpretation”?

        Reply

        • Martin Hughes
          Martin Hughes

          15th April 2021 at 5:46 pm

          Hi Mike, one thing that is absolutely clear is that it is the owners of hospitality venues who are accountable to the authorities regarding the use of their premises. Our players and clubs or other recognised groups like U3A are required to follow our Play Safe Guidelines and carry out risk assessments. We have been advised that pubs as hospitality venues are not allowed to host sporting activities at this time. It is inevitable that there may local interpretation of Government Guidelines, but the our President has heard it directly and confirmed in writing what the position is.

          Reply

  • Avatar
    Paul B

    15th April 2021 at 12:30 pm

    Previous respondents have summed up this nonsense, it is up to Petanque England to represent the membership and get this sorted asap.

    Reply

  • Avatar
    Alison curd

    15th April 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Makes absolutely no sense whatsoever!

    Reply

  • Avatar
    Pete

    16th April 2021 at 8:14 am

    On a lighter note, perhaps we could ask David Cameron to lobby on our behalf !!!

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      16th April 2021 at 9:48 am

      Pete, I’m not sure we can afford his fees. Our President is lobbying on this and he does it free of charge!

      Reply

  • Avatar
    Alan Brockett

    16th April 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong but as I understand it I can currently join 5 of my friends at a pub and sit in the garden and drink at a table without any social distancing measures or wearing of masks whatsoever. Obviously tables are kept apart at a social distance.
    Why therefore can’t I join my team mates and play petanque at a designated piste area away from other people sitting in the pub garden. If it is a problem with the drinking why can’t we just leave our drinks on a nearby table. It is understood that food at the end of the match will not and cannot be provided.
    Total nonsense – more and stringent lobbying by PE of the necessary Government bodies is urgently required.
    We just need to get out in the fresh air and meet our petanque friends again before we all go lock-down crazy!!

    Reply

    • Martin Hughes
      Martin Hughes

      16th April 2021 at 7:44 pm

      Hi Alan, you make some very reasonable points. Our President will continue to put the case for our members and clubs based at pub venues.

      Reply

    • Avatar
      Richard Savory

      17th April 2021 at 9:39 am

      I wholeheartedly agree with you on this point, my local venue depends on this income during early part of the week to supplement what they are missing in food trade being only available outside. They were despondent that this may not be allowed as they saw the ruling of” organised competition ” and thought this would be allowed in an area away from other diners.

      Reply

  • Avatar
    Neil Whittall

    19th April 2021 at 7:34 pm

    Totally illogical. Covid rules dictate that food and drink can only be consumed outside when seated, at the moment. Petanque is currently played, socially- distanced, standing up on a dedicated piste adjacent to the pub. No confusion exists except, perhaps, in the mind of the beurocrats. Maybe it’s a Brexit thing and all things French are off limits. In that case, let’s rename our pastime: please join me in a game of Aerial Bowls!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© Petanque England. All rights reserved. Website designed by South Thames Marketing