A pub landlord in Cornwall in south-western England has hit the headlines in the UK for his unique method of ensuring COVID-19 secure social distancing guidelines by installing an electric fence around the bar area.
Jonny McFadden, who runs the popular Star Inn in Saint Just town of Cornwall, said there is limited space at the bar where drinks are served and therefore he resorted to what he says is "just a normal electric fence" found in many field perimeters to control cattle and sheep around England.
Speaking to the local 'Cornwall Live' newspaper, McFadden said the fence is for everybody's benefit due to the space constraints.
"It's there for social-distancing. Before the fence, people were not following social distancing and were doing as they pleased, but now people take heed to the guidance around social distancing. It's for everybody's benefit," he said.
"Everybody enters my bar, they try to get served here, which is right in the doorway, and so to keep people away from here, I didn't know what to do. So, I put in an electric fence," he explained.
Asked during a BBC interview if it was switched on, McFadden said: "Come and find out - there is a fear factor and it works." McFadden said he came up with the idea after he had struggled to enforce the social distancing message among some customers, who returned to the pub as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions were eased across England earlier this month. Under the government guidance, all establishments must follow COVID-secure rules of highlighting social distancing messages and also hygiene and cleanliness to prevent the transmission of the deadly virus.
McFadden, who is also a farmer, resorted to the fence because he feels it will keep people away because "people are like sheep".
"They know it is a fence and don't want to touch it to find out whether it is on or not," he said.
His customers are said to be happy with the fencing, which has generated a lot of laughs, though his insurance broker is not entirely happy.
"He was a bit worried but then that is what he is there for. He rang a nephew of mine and said 'I hope he is not electrocuting people'. Well come and find out if I am," he said, in a light-hearted vein.
The Star Inn, which only serves drinks and no food, is one of the oldest pubs in St Just and has featured in several television shows and films.