THE boss of a chain with several pubs in Somerset says he won't make staff wear masks when they open next weekend because he doesn't want his venues to look like hospitals.

Marston's chief executive Ralph Findlay also says he won't make customers hand over contact details.

Among pubs owned by Marston's are the Pitcher and Piano, in Taunton; Skylark, in Wellington; Stonemasons, in Ilminster; White Willow and Admiral's Table, in Bridgwater.

The brewer is providing plenty of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff who want to wear it for their "own peace of mind", but it will not be obligatory to wear it.

Pens and paper will also be available for drinkers to fill in their details if they want to.

A Marston's spokesman said: "We do have significant concerns over the collection and storage of personal customer data."

Mr Findlay added that issues such as PPE and the collection of customers' details were "requests" and not rules, with pub bosses able to decide what to enforce.

He said pubs must be enjoyable venues, adding: "It's important to me for pubs to look like pubs and not like hospitals, because if they do, people won't want to come here."