Enforcement action taken against two South Tyneside pubs following Covid-19 safety breaches
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Both pubs have been identified as ‘premises of immediate concern’, following a series of spot checks carried out by South Tyneside Council Environment Health officers over recent weeks.
The directions limit the number of people who can enter each premises by instructing that only table service is offered.
The enforcement action comes following a spike in cases of coronavirus in South Tyneside over the last two weeks, and amid anticipation the borough will soon be put on Public Health England’s Watchlist as an area receiving Enhanced Support.
A number of other premises are being formally written to, to confirm that they have been identified as ‘premises of concern.’
Council leader Iain Malcolm said: “The council has done a great deal of work to support businesses to reopen safely during these extremely challenging times.
“We appreciate that most pubs, bars and restaurants only want the best for their staff and customers and are complying with their existing licencing conditions and the Government guidance in place.
"We would like to thank those premises for their cooperation and continued efforts to keep people safe.
“Unfortunately, a small number of businesses are not acting responsibly to limit the spread of the virus and are repeatedly failing to manage the risks properly.
"They are continually exceeding capacity levels and ignoring social distancing guidelines.
“We take a zero-tolerance approach to breaches of the Covid rules that put the health and safety of our residents under serious threat.
"We hope that the action we are taking will help to avoid a local lockdown and enable responsible businesses to keep trading.”
The council is using new regulations given to local authorities to help respond to a serious or imminent threat to public health and to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
They include the power for councils to restrict access to, or close, individual premises.
Cllr Malcolm added: “It is in every business’s interest to do all they can to follow the rules and keep people safe.
”Otherwise, we will be left with no other option but to take further action, to close venues or introduce more stringent measures."We are already seeing this across the country, in places like Bolton where all premises are now operating with reduced opening hours and takeaway only – even those which have worked so hard to comply.”
The council urged residents to continue to follow the Government’s guidance around social distancing and hand washing.
Anyone who believes a hospitality business is not adhering to the rules is also encouraged to make their concerns known to the venue’s manager and customers are advised to leave if they don’t feel safe.
To ensure their premises are Covid secure, businesses should:
Ensure handwashing and sanitising facilities are available;
Ensure guests can socially distance and venues are not overcrowded;
From Monday, September 14, prohibit groups of more than six people, unless it is a pre-organised event run within the law.
Take the contact details on all guests for the NHS Test and Trace system;
Ensure staff can socially distance and provide face coverings if required.