Date issued: 18 September 2020
Two premises in Essex have been served direction under the Coronavirus Act 2020 for failing to observe safe Covid practices – the first issued by Essex County Council under the new legislation.
Despite advice and warning given to both premises, The Bull in Crouch Street, Colchester and The Chequers in Market Street, Harlow have both failed to adhere to government guidelines and have now been served direction under the Coronavirus Act 2020, which grants the government emergency powers to handle the Covid-19 pandemic.
The directions served yesterday by Director of Public Health at Essex County Council, Dr Mike Gogarty, require that the premises follow basic Covid safe measures and adhere to their own risk assessments. If they do not do so, the Council will consider making a further direction to close the premises.
Environmental Health officers from Harlow Council and Colchester Borough Council will continue to try to work with both premises to ensure they follow guidelines and are adhering to their risk assessments.
Director of Public Health, Dr Mike Gogarty, said: “It is disappointing that these premises have not ensured that their premises are Covid safe and that this action is therefore necessary.
“The Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations give us the power to step in and ensure people are being protected. We need to take collective responsibility for preventing future spread of the virus.
“Most businesses are working really hard to ensure adherence to Covid regulations, they want to protect customers and minimise the risk of a local lockdown and we must not allow the actions of a few to undermine this.
“We have worked closely with Colchester Borough Council and Harlow Council to make this decision and hope that it serves as a reminder to every business in Essex of the importance of ensuring their premises are Covid-safe.”
Cllr Mike Lilley, Colchester Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “These are very challenging times and it is disappointing that this action has had to be taken. The premises in question have been given previous warnings in relation to these issues. We must take direct action to protect our residents and do our part to keep the county, and country, safe.”
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, added: “I fully support taking action on premises when Covid safety measures are breached. With rising cases of the virus, we must act quickly and firmly.”
Councillor Danny Purton, Harlow Council’s portfolio holder for Environment, said: “I welcome the action taken today by Essex County Council using their coronavirus powers working with our Environmental Health Team and Essex Police. The majority of businesses in Harlow are complying with the rules, but we warned several weeks ago that action will be taken against businesses that fail to work with us and other agencies to make improvements.
“This really is the last chance saloon for The Chequers Pub or they could face closure. I know some will say that the pub has already been given too many chances with continued breaches, but there is a legal process that has to be followed to get to this point.
“We will continue to work with all to monitor this situation and ensure compliance. The health and safety of all is our number one priority and we must work together to ensure we do what we can to limit the spread of this virus.”