Essex pubs ordered to close after breaching Covid rules
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Two north Essex pubs have been ordered to close after flouting coronavirus guidelines on mixing households last weekend.
Essex Police officers were called to reports of a private party being held at the Leather Bottle pub in Shrub End Road in Colchester on Saturday evening.
Officers found around 25 people from multiple households mixing inside the pub, with several tables pushed together to form a buffet area.
The pub's licensee was handed a £10,000 fine by police and ordered to remain closed until the venue is Covid-secure.
The Anchor pub, in Station Road, Tiptree, was also attended by police after a group of 30 people were reported drinking without a substantial meal past the curfew time of 11pm on Sunday.
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During a follow-up visit the next day, licensing officers visited the pub and found it was serving meals in a closed-side marquee.
This was not judged to be outdoors eating and the pub was instructed to close.
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Mike Lilley, Colchester's portfolio holder for communities, wellbeing and public safety, said: "Once again, despite our best efforts to communicate the guidelines, a minority of premises appear to think the rules do not apply to them and have failed to implement the necessary measures to protect people’s safety.
"It is important that landlords understand that we will take action against them if we find they operate in breach of the rules.
"They face the potential of an unlimited fine if they fail to comply with the notice, as well as the possibility that we will review their licence.
"The public will be reassured to know that we will continue to work in partnership with other authorities to monitor premises, respond to reports of any potential breaches and take the necessary action against those who flout the rules."
Chief Inspector Jonathan Evans of Essex Police added: "The vast majority of people are doing the right thing and following the government’s regulations, so together we can fight the virus that has affected all of our lives this year.
"So many local businesses have made sacrifices to keep their customers safe and have worked really hard to adjust how they work.
"The actions of a small minority, who are not doing the same, is unfair on the local community."