Strong warning issued to town pubs flouting distancing rules

Colchester town centre - the borough council has put pubs on notice that action will be taken if the

Colchester town centre - the borough council has put pubs on notice that action will be taken if they don't comply with distancing rules Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Town pubs have been put on notice after an upsurge in problems with social distancing.

Colchester Borough Council said many venues had complied with the new regulations aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus – but not all.

“There are concerns several venues across the borough are still not following the proper procedures and are potentially putting lives at risk,” it said.

“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.

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“The council has also received concerns from members of the public about several other venues across the borough.”

The council urged 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,” it said.

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Drinkers were reminded to follow the rules and observe personal hygiene.

The council is working with partners including Pubwatch and the Our Colchester Business Improvement District (BID), and said it would be stepping up enforcement against premises flouting the rules.

Communities boss Councillor Mike Lilley said: “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.”

He issued a strong warning to those breaking the rules.

“We will take whatever action we need to enforce them to do so or close them.”

Council leader Mark Cory warned: “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.”

If a venue is found not to be compliant, a Community Protection Warning can be issued, and if warning are not heeded, venues can be closed, the council warned.

Fashion Cafe Bar has been approached for a comment.