Woodbridge bar owner to fight £1,000 fine for Covid rule breach
- Credit: Katy Sandalls
The owner of a Woodbridge bar fined £1,000 after it breached coronavirus regulations says he will fight it all the way.
A Listers, based at the Riverside, was given the fine following concerns about a marquee in which customers were being served.
Under current restrictions, restaurants and pubs can use marquees under certain conditions.
To be considered outdoors, all structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of their wall areas open at all times while serving customers.
East Suffolk Council said that concerns were raised by members of the public about the bar and so an officer from East Suffolk Council’s Food and Safety team visited A Listers last week and found that the bar was serving customers in a marquee which did not have the required wall areas open.
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The bar was advised that it needed to either stop using the marquee or open up at least 50% of the wall areas to meet the legal requirements and the government’s guidance.
However, when the officer returned this week, the council said she found that the marquee was still not correctly set up but customers were still being served in it.
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As a result, the bar was served with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £1,000 for breaching Covid-19 regulations.
“The whole thing is hilariously ridiculous," said owner Stuart Saunders.
"I shan’t be paying the fine and I will be seeing them in court."
Mr Saunders said the decision on whether 50% of the walls were up was made using a tape measure.
“We are trying to keep the town alive," said Mr Saunders.
"We are not doing anything wrong. It takes a tape measure to work out if another side should come down."
Mr Saunders said he would not be paying the fine on a matter of principle.
Mark Sims, East Suffolk Council’s food and safety manager, said: “All businesses have a legal duty to keep their workers and others safe from harm and this includes complying with the Covid-19 rules for their type of premises.
“For hospitality businesses, the rules on using marquee structures as an outdoor space are very clear. It is important that businesses get it right because outdoor settings are known to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, making it less risky than indoor settings."