A UK pub chain has divided customers with a controversial two-drink limit for parents in an attempt to control "unruly children".
While the rule has reportedly been around for some time in JD Wetherspoon pubs around the country, it came to light after a sign appeared in The Robert Pocock venue in Kent, in southern England, announcing they would be enforcing it in 2020.
"As part of our licensing it is our responsibility to ensure that we are protecting children from harm," reads the sign, which was later shared to Twitter. "Therefore adults in charge of children will be allowed to have one alcoholic drink and a further alcoholic drink with a sit-down meal. After that amount of alcohol is consumed we are in our legal right to refuse service of alcohol."
The pub noted that while the policy had not been enforced "rigorously enough in the past" they would be cracking down on it in 2020.
And it's left punters divided.
Its none of a businesses concern what a patron is doing. If he is not breaking the law ,on the premises ,they have no right to a say on what a parent does or doesnt do. Their job is to sell drinks,not police adults with children.— Lex_ (@UKNANALEX) January 26, 2020
No! far to Nanny state. Better to ban children under 14 from pubs like it used to be.— JG (@jgfinestrat) January 25, 2020
It’s unfortunate that everyone is being tarred with the same stick , there are a lot of responsible parents out there who make sure their children are well looked after in the public place& behave , ie in a public house or public places— stevie (@ward39asu) January 25, 2020
Many, however, agreed with their stance.
I have managed pub's with children's rooms and play areas, sadly some parents think it's OK to get drunk and not control their children. Fair play to this pub chain for looking out for children's wellfare.— Dave (@Red1971lloyd) January 24, 2020
People shouldn't be allowed to bring kids to a pub at all if they're going to be drinking— Tim 👽 (@Tim_AFCnewera) January 25, 2020
Parents shouldn't be drinking alcohol if they have their kids with them. Anyone that feels it's okay to take their kids on a drinking session are being lazy, irresponsible bad parents. Expand your childs mind! The world has so much more to offer than a pub. Go see some culture.— Parky (@AndrewCParky) January 27, 2020
On their website, the chain, which has 900 stores around the UK, notes: "Some of our pubs may request that all members of a party with an under-18 present order a main meal, if alcohol is ordered."
A Wetherspoon spokesperson told BBC that the booze limit was a guideline "not a policy".
"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," they said. "The notice had a positive effect, with mostly good feedback. There is a guideline, though not a policy, that we will serve the adult a maximum of two alcoholic drinks with their meal.
"The reason is that we don't want children being unruly in the pubs and parents thinking they can continue to drink while this happens."