A County Durham club has been issued with a direction order and told it must close immediately for failing to abide by the latest coronavirus restrictions.
Durham County Council’s community protection team has taken swift action against Shotton Comrades Club, which must close from 6pm this evening (Friday 2 October), following a lack of social distancing at the club, no table service and customers standing at the bar.
As part of tougher new restrictions introduced two weeks ago to prevent the further spread of coronavirus, premises must provide table service only, close at 10pm, have the necessary track and trace requirements as well as ensuring social distancing rules are adhered to and ask staff and customers to wear face coverings.
Because of so serious a breach, Shotton Comrades Club will now have to remain closed until it can prove that it can operate in a coronavirus secure way.
In order to reassure members of the public that the new restrictions are being taken seriously, compliance officers have been out across the county on evenings and weekends and will continue to take a firm approach to those who show a disregard to the rules.
Any premises or person not complying with those measures could face a fine of £1,000 or closure if the regulations are ignored or the premises remain open beyond 10pm.
However, the team is keen to support the majority of businesses who are abiding by the rules, offering help and advice to ensure they are able to stay open during these challenging times.
A coronavirus checklist for safe operating can be found on the council’s website at http://www.durham.gov.uk/reopenyourbusiness
Owen Cleugh, Durham County Council’s public protection manager, said: “We have been visiting premises across the county since the new restrictions were put in place and we are pleased to see that the vast majority are supportive of the measures and doing all they can to protect their staff and customers. We will continue to support these venues in staying open and are happy to offer help and advice where needed to make sure this possible.
“Unfortunately, there are a small number of premises failing to comply and I hope that instructing this business to close sends a clear message that we will take action against any premises which continues to flout the legislation. These measures have been put in place to address a significant rise in coronavirus cases in the region, and we must do what we can to protect public safety.”
Members of the public with any coronavirus concerns can submit a form on the council’s website: https://doitonline.durham.gov.uk/service/Covid_19___General_enquiry
The council will respond to any queries relating to licensed premises and hospitality businesses, while queries relating to workplaces such as factories will be passed on to the Health and Safety Executive.
The council is also continuing to work with the Workingmen’s Club Institute and Union following previous outbreaks in workingmen’s clubs at Burnside at Stanley.
Residents are reminded that as part of two local restrictions, which were updated on Wednesday (30 September), residents must not socialise with people outside of their own households or support bubbles in any indoor setting, including in pubs and restaurants.
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, Durham’s Director of Public Health, said: “We know the new measures are challenging but by working together and each of us doing our bit, we all help reduce the further spread of the virus and save lives.
“The best way to help protect our families, friends and neighbours is to follow the basic rules of Hands, Face, Space – wash your hands for 20 seconds often, cover your face in public, stay 2 metres apart and stay at home if you have symptoms or are waiting for Covid test results.”
Anyone with any symptoms of coronavirus should get a test as soon as possible and stay at home until they get the results.
Residents in need of further support can also access the community hub, County Durham Together. More information can be found on the council’s website https://www.durham.gov.uk/covid19help. Residents can also call the hub on 03000 260 250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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