Coronavirus: Virtual pub recruits night 'bar staff' as members surge
An ex-landlady who set up a virtual pub has recruited "bar staff" in Australia to monitor the page overnight as membership reached more than 12,000.
Jo Bowtell launched The Virtual Pub Facebook page, which hosts live music, quizzes and open mic nights through Facebook live, more than a week ago.
Miss Bowtell, from Spondon, Derby, said it is "the biggest pub I have ever had and it does fit round my children".
Hundreds of "patrons" have been posting selfies with drinks in the "pub".
The mother-of-two, who used to run The Noel Arms in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, said it "has blown up completely".
This weekend a boot camp for pub-goers will be hosted on Saturday morning, with cocktail making in the afternoon followed by live music and a quiz later.
On Sunday, there will be three music acts and a comedy night.
These will all run through Facebook live videos, except the comedy night where performers communicate through Skype, film it on YouTube and post a link to the page.
She said: "It is pretty much like going to a pub but doing it from your living room.
"They might only nip in for one drink and that is fine, we have all done that."
The 40-year-old added: "We have got an Australian moderator so someone is working through the night on requests.
"There are key workers getting in from work at odd hours and it is a way to connect with people."
Dawn Richardson, from Melton Mowbray, said: "It is keeping me entertained all day.
"I just love it. It has brought people together," said the 37-year-old.
Ray Callcut, 60, said: "It's great. I can speak to my mum and then go back in the pub.
"It's almost like a platform for new talent so when we get out of this, hopefully pubs will be busy with entertainment."
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