A pub landlord who spent £50,000 on a chalet for food has been told it breaks Covid rules, just days before boozers can start pouring pints again.
Jason Kalen runs The Marlborough in Wiltshire and fitted a bar, pizza oven and a TV in the wooden ‘chalet’.
The livid landlord reportedly claims he strictly followed Wiltshire Council’s advice to comply with the virus regulations.
But he says the council then told him Government guidance was that 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 BBC: “It’s disgusting. Less than a week before we’re supposed to open saying it doesn’t comply. It makes no sense.
“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.”
He added that the structure was mostly built during the first lockdown in 2020 and finished in the second.
Mr Kalen said having worked closely with the council to realise his project “to suddenly do this to us is outrageous. I’m livid.”
A council spokesperson said the guidance was ‘not new’ and should not come as a surprise.
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.”