A pub has told its customers to leave their mobile phones at home on Sunday to avoid customers' roast lunches being disturbed by an emergency alert set to sound on all UK devices. The nationwide trial will see all UK mobile phones let out a loud siren and show a message at 3pm on April 23, as the Government tests its new warning system.
But The Camelot pub, near Yeovil in Somerset, said it doesn't want to alert to “intrude our lives on a Sunday here” and has told punters to leave their phones at home, SomersetLive reports. It says anyone who does bring their mobile to the pub should turn it off and has warned that if an alarm does sound, the owner of the device will be expected to make a “large donation” to the venue's charity box.
The alert will sound even if a device has been switched to silent. A message will say: “This is a test of Emergency Alerts, a new UK government service that will warn you if there's a life-threatening emergency nearby.
“In a real emergency, follow the instructions in the alert to keep yourself and others safe. Visit gov.uk/alerts for more information. This is a test. You do not need to take any action.”
A statement from The Camelot said: “The Camelot is requesting all customers to leave their mobile phones at home if they are coming to the pub. We have all heard the alert on various news channels and we feel very strongly that we don’t want the alarm system to spoil the enjoyment of customers coming for our legendary roast lunches.
“If customers feel strongly about bringing their phones then we kindly request you turn them off while in the pub before the alarm goes off at 3pm. Any customer who does have an alarm go off will be asked to pop a large donation into our charity box. This month our chosen charity is The Alzheimer’s Society.
“We are really sorry if this offends some customers. As we have all had the chance to hear the alarm we don’t feel it’s necessary to have it intrude our lives on a Sunday here.”
The minister in charge of the new system, Oliver Dowden, has said it is a “vital tool to keep the public safe in life-threatening emergencies”. However, people can opt-out of receiving the alert if they wish by heading to their phone's settings, searching for “emergency alerts”, and turning off “severe alerts” and “extreme alerts”.
There have been concerns that the test could endanger people in abusive relationships by alerting their partners to the location of a hidden phone. The Government said it has been engaging with organisations to ensure vulnerable people are not adversely affected and the charity Refuge hasproduced a video showing how to turn off the alerts.
But there have also been worries that drivers may be distracted by the alert, with motorists advised not to look at or touch their phone until they are able to stop. UK Government advice says: “You should not read or otherwise respond to an emergency alert whilst driving or riding a motorcycle.”
It adds: “If you are driving, you should continue to drive and not respond to the noise or attempt to pick up the mobile phone and deal with the message. Find somewhere safe and legal to stop before reading the message.
“If there is nowhere safe or legal to stop close by, and nobody else is in the vehicle to read the alert, tune into live radio and wait for bulletins until you can find somewhere safe and legal to stop.”