Man gasping for post-lockdown pint turned away when he didn’t have smartphone

A 78-year-old pensioner looking forward to his first post-lockdown pint was refused a drink because he didn't have a smartphone.

The pub turned him away as he needed a mobile phone to register his details on an app.

Widower David Walters visited The Angel Of Corbridge, Northumberland, but was left upset when he was refused service.

Some pubs are looking to minimise contact between staff and customers by adopting phone apps, writes the PA.

However, Age Concern has raised the issue that this essentially freezes out half of those aged between 65 and 74 and over a third of the over-75s because they do not use a smartphone.

Under Government guidelines, establishments must ensure that they have a process for registering the details of those who don't use a smartphone.

David complained the policy was ageist after he was denied service at the Angel and claimed he was told that customers had to use an app to order and submit contact details to NHS Test and Trace.

He said: "I just thought it was terrible.

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"Older people like me don't have this computer knowledge because we weren't brought up with computers."

In a statement on Facebook, the pub backtracked and apologised.

It said: "After following guidelines we have made a mistake and we are sorry.

"Everyone is welcome at The Angel. We will be personally apologising to David and inviting him over for drinks on the house."

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said the requirement for people to use apps in pubs and restaurants "risks widening the digital divide and reducing the opportunities for some older people to enjoy socialising once again".

She added: "We fully understand the need for venues to pay attention to infection control but it would be helpful to their bottom lines, as well as to older people, if they ensure that smartphone use is not a precondition for buying a drink or a meal."

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