County Durham premises facing action over coronavirus restrictions
Seven premises across County Durham are facing action this week for failing to comply with coronavirus rules.
A total of three venues have today (23 October) been issued with direction orders following a serious breach of restrictions which are aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.
Durham County Council’s community protection team has ordered Kennedy’s Bar in Bishop Auckland, Finnians in Consett and The Smiths in Lumley to close for at least seven days, or until they can assure that they can operate in a coronavirus secure way.
The council has also issued four fixed penalty notices to venues across the county for various offences under the Health Protection legislation, including trading beyond the 10pm curfew.
As part of the restrictions which were introduced last month, premises must provide table service only, close at 10pm, have the necessary track and trace requirements, ensure social distancing rules are adhered to and ask staff and customers to wear face coverings.
All five venues which were served with direction orders to close last week have now reopened, having implemented measures to protect the health of staff and customers.
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection services, said: “Our community protection officers will continue to visit premises on evenings and weekends. Abiding by the latest restrictions is something that every venue across the county is legally required to do and failure to do so could result in a fine of £1,000 or closure, depending on the severity of the breach.
“Whilst the county remains at High Alert Tier 2, it is vital that we all do our bit in order to protect each other from coronavirus and save lives by following the law and adhering to public health guidance. I appreciate that the vast majority of premises are complying and have health protection measures in place, but it is crucial that every venue does this and we will continue to take action until we are satisfied that the appropriate measures are in place everywhere.”
Residents are also reminded that they must not socialise with people outside of their own household or support bubble in any indoor setting, including pubs and restaurants, under the current restrictions.
People are also advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work and not to socialise with people outside of their own households in any public venue.
Amanda Healy, County Durham’s Director of Public Health, said: “We know that the majority of premises and people in County Durham have been acting responsibly and we are grateful for that. However, for as long as we face a high risk of coronavirus, we must all work together to follow the latest restrictions, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.
“Following the latest public health advice will also help to keep people safe. Residents should therefore wash their hands often and for 20 seconds, cover their face in public, stay two metres apart from others and stay at home if they have symptoms of coronavirus or are waiting for their rest results.”
For more information on how to access a test, visit the council’s website: www.durham.gov.uk/covid19testandtrace.