The nationwide policy first came to light when a poster was seen at the Robert Pocock pub in Gravesend, Kent following an incident of “unruly behaviour”.
The poster was put up at the pub last Sunday but has since been taken down by the landlord. The nationwide Wetherspoon policy is available for individual managers to choose to enforce if they wish.
The poster read: “As part of our licensing it is our responsibility to ensure that we are protecting children from harm.
“Therefore adults in charge of children will be allowed to have one alcoholic drink and a further alcoholic drink with a sit-down meal.”
It went on to add after the limit had been reached staff would have the “legal right to refuse service of alcohol” to customers.
The law around drinking while looking after children
|Under the Licensing Act 1902, it is illegal to be drunk in charge of a child in a public place.|
The law forbids being drunk on a highway, public place or any licensed premises while in charge of a child under the age of seven.
The crime can be punished by a fine or up to a month in prison.
According to Drinkaware children learn about
|acceptable behaviour by observing and copying their parents. When it comes to drinking, parents should lead by example.|
Parents are advised to drink within the low risk alcohol unit guidelines.
They should avoid regularly drinking more than 14 units per week and should spread this over three days or more. This shows children adults can enjoy alcohol in moderation
Whetherspoons have said that the policy has not been “followed rigorously” in the past, but it would be taking this policy far more seriously in 2020.
Being drunk whilst in charge of children under the age of 7 in a public place is illegal according to the 1902 licensing act and parents can face a fine or even a month in prison in more severe cases.
Naturaly, this has provoked heated debate across social media.
Whetherspoons customer Jonjo O’Connell said he agreed with the rule “in principle” although warned it could be abused.
He said: “Considering the type of parent it is aimed at, a pub is not a creche and I think some parents seem to forget that!
“Although I anticipate the rule will be circumvented by some just going around the corner to The Goose and staying there or returning later to the Pocock when a different shift arrives.”
A JD Wetherspoon spokesman said: “The manager took the decision to put the poster in the pub to emphasise to customers that she would not allow parents to drink while their children were running round uncontrolled in the pub.
“The notice had a positive effect, with mostly good feedback.”