Historic Devon pub defends ban on tourists and blames Boris Johnson's COVID rules

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
The sign outside the King of Prussia Inn says that only locals will be served as a result of COVID restrictions. (Reach)
The sign outside the King of Prussia Inn says only locals will be served, as a result of COVID restrictions. (Reach)

A historic pub used by generations of Devon families has insisted that Boris Johnson is to blame for its tough new "locals only" policy.

A sign outside the tiny King of Prussia Inn – known as the Proosh to its regulars – warns anyone hoping to visit that they must live in the area to enter.

The chalkboard frame, which sits on the street outside the pub in the riverside town of Kingsbridge, tells holidaymakers flooding into the area why they aren't welcome inside.

It reads: “Locals only" and adds: "Due to restrictions by Boris!! He has made a small pub smaller."

And just in case any visitors are upset at not being allowed into the Grade II-listed building, the sign explains: "Due to the small capacity we can only accommodate our locals."

The sign was put up to stop too many people attempting to enter the pub. (Reach)
The sign was put up to stop too many people attempting to enter the pub. (Reach)

Landlady Sara Roberton, who runs the pub with her partner Tim Newman, explained that in the first lockdown they tried to politely explain to visitors that they didn't have room but nobody would listen.

As a result, and due to the ongoing COVID restrictions, the pub has displayed the "locals only" sign instead.

Roberton explained: "We are such a small pub. I'm fine with my regulars. They are here all year round.

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"I don't think my regulars should have to go without a seat because of visitors. I'm not opposed to them sitting outside.

“We've had a few in who asked if they can take a drink outside and we're fine with that.

“It's not because we're unfriendly, we just don't have the space.

"It's not my fault the government made all these rules. Now it's all table service and everyone has to remain at their table.”

Roberton said the pub, which dates back to the 1800s, now has two extra tables to allow extra room for locals to visit.

She added: "I don't survive on the holidaymakers who come in and buy one drink – it’s our regulars who come in all year round who are important to us.

“I know other businesses in the town need the holidaymakers but we are not a tourist business.”

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson drinks a coffee while speaking with pupils after taking part in a science lesson, during a visit to King Solomon Academy in London, Thursday April 29, 2021.  (Dan Kitwood/Pool via AP)
The pub's landlady blamed Boris Johnson's COVID restrictions for the 'locals only' policy. (AP)

The sign has already attracted widespread attention after a GP from Nottingham thought it was not particularly friendly to holidaymakers and posted a picture of it on Twitter.

But Ms Roberton said he took his picture on a rainy day, and the white chalk explanation of how small the pub is had been washed off.

She added: "I get fed up of people taking pictures of the sign all the time.

“We tried it the polite way in the first lockdown. We had a polite noticeboard but nobody read it."

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