Older drinkers are at risk of being discriminated against in pubs because many do not have smartphones on which to order food and drinks, the Telegraph has reported.

Charity Age UK issued the warning, stating that seven in ten over 70s in the UK do not use a smartphone and therefore could not use apps to order food and drink, and warned app-only policies risked “reducing the opportunities for some older people to enjoy socialising again”.

According to the Telegraph, some venues been refusing to serve customers who do not have smartphone after making ordering via apps mandatory. However while the guidelines encourage venues to use contact-free ordering from a table where possible, there is no legal requirement for customers to use an app if they are unable.

Quoted in the Telegraph, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “As we start to emerge from the pandemic it seems that many pubs and restaurants are requiring customers to pre-order using a smartphone, which automatically rules out about half of those aged 65 to 74 and 70 per cent of the over-75s because they do not use one.

“This risks widening the digital divide and reducing the opportunities for some older people to enjoy socialising once again.

“We fully understand the need for venues to pay attention to infection control but it would be helpful to their bottom lines, as well as to older people, if they ensure that smartphone use is not a precondition for buying a drink or a meal.”