Birmingham restaurant owner says mask policy critics are 'nuts'

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image copyrightThom Bartley
image captionAlex Claridge said there was a lot of frustration and anger around, following the decision to end coronavirus restrictions

A restaurant owner who received angry emails after asking customers to continue wearing masks has said his critics are "nuts".

Alex Claridge, who runs The Wilderness in Birmingham, said he'd been accused of "glorified virtue-signalling" after he sent out an email to customers explaining his position.

He said he was "flabbergasted" at the response, from a "vocal minority".

But he said his customers would only be "mildly inconvenienced" by the rules.

He said he wasn't worried if a few customers chose not to return as a result.

"If we haven't learnt that happiness and health are more important than your bank balance by now, then we've learned nothing." he said.

The email was sent out to coincide with the ending of lockdown restrictions to people who had registered for news about the restaurant.

It said it encouraged guests to continue wearing masks while walking about the restaurant and said track and trace would remain in place, along with social distancing.

image copyrightTom Bird
image captionThe Wilderness restaurant said it had "made the choice to remain cautious"

Mr Claridge said the handful of negative responses hadn't surprised him, because "you can never be surprised by humans".

But he accepted everyone had a right to their opinions.

The Wilderness is one of many shops, restaurants and cafes to ask customers to continue wearing masks and Mr Claridge said the hospitality industry was showing leadership by choosing to continue with restrictions after they ceased to be mandatory.

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