CONCERNS have been raised after a popular Winchester pub played host to a band with a member who is outspoken with his views on Covid.

Joe Ward, who is part of The Jays, played the Bakers Arms on Saturday, January 8.

The Fareham musician and DJ has publicly posted many times about his scepticism of the vaccination programme and the need to carry out Covid tests and isolate.

His Facebook page is followed by nearly 3,500 people, with many liking and sharing his regular posts.

However his latest gig has prompted upset from some Winchester residents.

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One, who did not wish to be named, said she was concerned about his appearance.

She said: "How very strange that a national pub chain, which has been massively affected due to Covid restrictions, and promote a safe and secure Covid environment in their pubs, would allow one of their pubs in Winchester to have a party with him as their DJ.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Bakers Arms The Bakers Arms

"So sad to see that whilst we are trying to regain some normality, that others play with our futures.

"Fine to have your own opinions, but risking other people without informing them of the vax status of the entertainment makes a mockery of it all."

The Bakers Arms, in High Street, which is run by Stonegate Group, defended the decision to hire the act.

A spokesperson said: "We fully adhere to government guidelines in providing a safe environment and have a number of measure in place to protect staff and customers.

"Musicians and entertainers are not required to provide proof of vaccination for performances, however we continue to urge all those visiting or working at the pub to act responsibly in protecting their own health and that of others.”


The manager said that she makes all staff to do a lateral flow test on the day of the event.

She said: "We make them take lateral flow tests and we also temperature check our staff."

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However Joe, who is not vaccinated against Covid-19, said he would only take a test if it was made law.

He said: "Although the situation hasn't arisen anywhere I've performed yet, if it was between a vaccine passport or a test, I would be willing to provide a test, if and only if, it was set into law, which it hasn't been yet.

"Although I want to stress that I haven't been asked at any, pub, club, venue or festival that I've performed at so far and will refuse until it is necessary, as I stated above, I believe health choices should remain private. No, I'm not currently vaccinated."

The Winchester night saw scores of people attend and proved popular. It is not the first time The Jays have performed at the pub either, playing several gigs since restrictions were lifted.

The band, which plays a mix of music and claims to have a 'song for everybody', has also played at several other venues across Hampshire, including the Brewery Bar on New Year's Eve, the King's Head in Wickham and the Phoenix in Romsey, plus others.

Joe defended his beliefs and said that he will continue to provide entertainment.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Bakers Arms The Bakers Arms

He said: "I believe in free choice when it comes to health, especially when it comes to my and our children's health. This is not politically motivated in any way."

Joe signed a record deal at the age of 14 and has since had a residency at Ayia Napa, toured Army bases, worked with Right Said Fred and So Solid Crew and has entertained "thousands" of people around the world.

He said: "I have never had my health status called into question. I am simply trying to provide for my family including my daughter, the love of my life.

"I would never treat any audience member differently based on their health status, I would endeavour to entertain all my guests the same regardless of their beliefs."

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