Mark Jones, who owns a pub in Chirk, Wales, revealed he knew many people have booked minibuses to pick them up in the afternoon before whisking them away to England to celebrate the New Year. Mr Jones, whose pub is less than a mile from the English border, agreed it was a “joke” that the different UK Governments have all come up with different rules over the New Year and said many of his regulars did not know whether they could visit him or not. Another landlord whose pub is just on the English side of the Scottish border felt sympathy for her fellow landlords stuck with the coronavirus restrictions as New Year was expected to carry venues over the next few weeks.
Speaking on Sky News, Mr Jones explained how he has to follow the rule of six, wearing masks to move around the pub, social distancing and track and trace if he wants to remain open.
When asked if he was expecting a busy night and if people were moving across the border, Mr Jones explained: “I know a few have booked minibuses into town, which is seven miles away.
“It’s been a very quiet Christmas, to be honest, I’ve been here 20 years and I’ve never experienced one as quiet as this.”
Mr Jones agreed that Welsh revellers were doing things in an “organised fashion” and said most would be moving out later this afternoon.
Margaret Straughan, who owns a pub in Berwick-upon-Tweed, was also on the programme and said she was expecting things to be “very busy”.
She added: “I hope people take care of themselves and abide by what we have decided to do.
“Just take responsibility for yourselves as well, it will be busy here because the last two days we have been inundated with people for food and drink.”
Ms Straughan added she was only a mile and a half from the Scottish border and said she has grandchildren who go to school in Scotland.
The landlord also revealed she has regulars who often cross the border and was secretly pleased because she feared the restrictions would go the other way.
Mr Jones was then asked about the different rules being observed around the country and whether they were a joke.
He replied: “After the first time I thought we would all learn and all have the same rules from the first lockdown.
“Nobody really knows what’s going on and they’re coming in our pub and they don’t know what the rules are.”
Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales introduced further restrictions over the New Year period to try and curb the spread of coronavirus.
Limits on outdoor gatherings were also put in place meaning big celebrations, like Hogmanay, were cancelled.
Reports emerged in the lead up to December 31 that people were planning on crossing the border into England to celebrate the New Year.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney told BBC Breakfast: “People are free to make their own judgments. But what we have got recognise is that Omicron is a serious threat to absolutely everybody within our society and we have all got to take measures to protect ourselves by limiting our social contacts and connections and by complying with the restrictions we have in place.
“I think it is the wrong course of action for people to take because we have a serious situation we have got to manage and we encourage everybody to play their part in addressing that.”