Date issued: 5 August 2020
Pubs and clubs across the borough are being reminded of their responsibilities to ensure they are complying fully with the Government’s social distancing regulations to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Across the country, pubs and clubs were able to reopen last month following lockdown. However, they needed strict measures in place, especially around social distancing, inside and outside their venues.
Many of the borough’s venues have complied with the new regulations designed to ensure the safety of drinkers and stop the further spread of Covid-19.
However, there are concerns several venues across the borough are still not following the proper procedures and are potentially putting lives at risk.
Last week, the owners of Fashion Cafe Bar in St Botolph’s Street were warned over issues of lack of social distancing at the venue. Following this, they are now compliant. The council has also received concerns from members of the public about several other venues across the borough.
Now the council and its partners are calling on premises owners and customers to stick to guidelines or face another Covid spike and possible local lockdown. Numbers are low but we need to stay vigilant.
The council, working with partners including Pubwatch and the Our Colchester Business Improvement District (BID), is now reminding licensees and owners of their responsibilities to ensure people can visit their premises safely. It will also be stepping up its enforcement to take any necessary action against premises found to be flouting the rules.
Under the current government guidelines venues must:
- conduct a Risk Assessment to ensure they are Covid Secure before re-opening
- this would include having required social distancing measures in place and one-way systems around the premises
- limit the number of people visiting the venue at any one time
- ensure they comply with the requirements for Test and Trace.
Drinkers are also being reminded to play their part in helping to stop the spread of Covid-19 by following the rules put in place in pubs and clubs to ensure their safety, as well as around their own personal hygiene including washing their hands.
Cllr Mike Lilley, Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “We have many fantastic venues across the borough that we know people have been eager to revisit as lockdown has eased. However, it is vital for the safety of everyone in Colchester and beyond that people follow the necessary rules and regulations.
“Many of our venues have put in place strong social distancing measures, but we are increasing being informed of those who seem to be very lax on this front. We do need to support our pubs and clubs to reopen and start trading again following lockdown – but paramount in our minds must be people’s safety and stopping the spread of this deadly virus.
“We will be working with Pubwatch and others to remind licensees and owners of their responsibilities. I am also issuing a strong warning to those found to be breaking the rules that we will take whatever action we need to enforce them to do so or close them.”
Councillor Mark Cory, Leader of the Council, added: “We have all seen the restrictions being reinstated in other areas across the country and it is not something we want to see happen in Colchester.
“There are many good examples of pubs and clubs following the regulations – but worryingly there appears to be a number that are letting not only themselves and their visitors down, but the whole of Colchester.
“It is only by everyone playing their part and following the regulations that we will stop our borough following other areas into a local lockdown.”
Pam Donnelly, Chair of the Safer Colchester Partnership, said: “We want people to be able to go out and enjoy a visit to our bars and clubs safe in the knowledge that the venue has taken every possible step to protect them from Covid-19.
“While lockdown may be being eased it doesn’t mean that the virus has gone away. It is still very much with us and we all need to play our part in stopping a second wave and the potential of further lockdown restrictions being brought in as we have seen in other parts of the country.”
Andy Starr, Chair of Colchester Pubwatch, said: “Colchester Pubwatch supports the council in taking reasonable measures to enforce social distancing in the night time economy. We are all united in the fight against Covid-19 and look forward to the time when Colchester can fully re open and start dancing again.”
If a venue is found not to be complying with the necessary regulations, a Community Protection Warning would initially be issue. Ultimately, if all steps and warning are not complied with, the venue could be closed.