Pub landlord who spent £50k on food chalet told it breaks Covid rules just days before boozers can reopen

A PUB landlord who spent £50,000 on a chalet for food has been told it breaks Covid rules – days before boozers open again.

Jason Kalen runs The Marlborough in Wiltshire and fitted a bar, pizza oven and a TV in the wooden “chalet.”

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The wooden ‘chalet’ breaks Covid rules and can’t open on April 12

The bar can’t welcome punters on April 12 when outdoor drinking resumes in England

The Marlborough in Wiltshire was getting ready for reopening

He claims he strictly followed Wiltshire Council’s advice to comply with the virus regulations, reports the BBC.

But he says the council then told him Government guidance was outdoor roofed structures had to have at least 50 per cent of their walls open when in use.

The council said his did not – so he can’t use it on April 12 as planned.

Mr Kalen told the Beeb: “It’s disgusting. Less than a week before we’re supposed to open saying it doesn’t comply. It makes no sense.”

The structure was mostly built during the first lockdown in 2020 and finished in the second.

Jason said: “I built it to their [Wiltshire Council] specifications. I’ve got a breathable roof with a one inch gap around the outside, I’ve got double doors, I’ve got ventilation through the ground up. Then we get an email saying it’s not permitted.

“It’s the lack of timing. They should’ve sent this a month ago, it’s just not fair.”

Mr Kalen said having worked closely with the council to realise his project “to suddenly do this to us is outrageous. I’m livid.”

Jason Kalen runs The Marlborough in Wiltshire

He claims he strictly followed Wiltshire Council’s advice to comply with the virus regulations

Outdoor drinking and dining can reopen in England on April 12

Jess Gibbons, the council’s director for communities and neighbourhood services, said: “Following confirmation by the government on Monday night that we will definitely be moving to step 2 of the roadmap on 12 April 2021, we emailed over 800 alcohol licensed premises in Wiltshire with guidance on outdoor hospitality.

“This guidance is not new – it is the same as the guidance issued previously, following the last re-opening just prior to Christmas which was covered by the “all tiers” regulations.

“It is based on the legal rules for smoking shelters in the smokefree legislation from 2007 which licensees will be very familiar with.

“This should not come as any surprise to the hospitality industry – we received numerous complaints about outdoor seating areas becoming very enclosed during the last re-opening period prior to Christmas.”

From Monday, Brits can have a drink outdoors again – and boozers with 24-hour licences are planning to welcome customers back from midnight on Sunday.

Around 15,000 pubs — 40 per cent of the total in England — will re-open for outside drinking in beer gardens, car parks and even on roads from April 12.

A handful have a 24-hour license – and are gearing up to welcome punters back as soon as the clock strikes 12, as Brits are set to sink 15million pints next week.

ALE FAIL

Drinkers will have to brave the outdoors on April 12 in order to sip their pints as pubs can only serve punters outdoors.

But they’ll be covered from the elements after ministers tore up rules last month so gazebos and marquees can go up without planning permission.

Town halls have also been ordered to let bars and restaurants spill out onto pavements for a booming al-fresco April from the 12th.

And pub-goers will not have to rely on cash and will be able to use their cards indoors when they drink in beer gardens from Monday.

Industry bosses complained that poor rural broadband and mobile signal means card machines cannot be used in pub gardens – typically in remote parts such as in Devon and Cornwall.

But now punters will be able to go inside to pay for their drinks.

Drinkers can also briefly use the toilets indoors when pub gardens reopen.

This is a loophole that emerged when the Rule of Six returned to let Brits meet up with six mates outside on March 29.