A PUB has applied to become a “place of worship” in a bid to reopen despite Tier 3 restrictions.
The New Baron pub in Hinckley, Leicestershire, can currently only open for takeaways and deliveries.
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The New Baron pub in Hinckley can currently only open for takeaways and deliveriesCredit: BPM Media
If successful, the pub would be christened The Church of New Baron, while owner Nirad Solanki, or Father Niri, would lead the flockCredit: BPM Media
But places of worship such as churches are allowed to open for services and private prayer across all three Tiers of the coronavirus restrictions.
The Elmesthorpe Brewery Company, which owns the boozer, has applied for the venue to be registered as a religious meeting place under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855.
If successful, the pub would be christened The Church of New Baron,
with patrons to be known as New Baronials, while owner Nirad Solanki,
or Father Niri, would lead the flock.
Bar staff would be known as Baronnuns, with the faithful to be served
Holy Ale and Niri Chicken as part of services.
The would-be church has also pledged to provide one-to-one confession
rooms with Father Niri.
He said: “It was just me trying to think outside the box. I think it’s the only way for our regular bread and butter people to meet up.
“Our pub is the epicentre of Hinckley. A lot of people depend on it, especially the older people.
“I thought, if churches and synagogues can open, why not do this?
“It’s not really financially motivated, we just want to be able to get out and see people.”
The former Wetherspoon pub relaunched after the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Mr Solanki believes it is crucial for pubs and hospitality venues to be allowed to open now, during the busy period in the build up to Christmas, as the early months of the year are always very quiet.
He said many closed pubs will shut for good before Christmas if they are not allowed to open or if more Government help is not provided.
MPs and shop owners in Leicester have said the city’s Tier 3 restrictions are “extremely difficult to hear” following 150 days of lockdown.
Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed in Tier 3 areas. But takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services can continue in this highly restricted setting.
Places of worship can stay open in Tier 3, but gatherings are limited to household bubbles only.