A closed sign

First county pub closed for COVID breaches

A Bedlington pub has become the first in the county to be closed down for breaching Covid regulations. 
The Wharton Arms, in Burdon Terrace, was served with a direction notice on Tuesday, October 6. The venue has been directed to close for 14 days (to be reviewed in seven days) and the licensee has the opportunity to appeal. 
Among the issues spotted during a routine police visit on Saturday, October 3 were: 
  • failure to display NHS Track and Trace QR code 
  • groups of multiple households 
  • people without face coverings around the venue, or not wearing face covering correctly 
  • no social distancing between individuals or groups 
  • failure to take reasonable Covid precautionary measures, eg one way system. 
While the majority of licensed venues so far visited in the county by police and council officers are following all necessary procedures, a small number of businesses are falling short.   Enforcement officers are checking on these businesses to ensure safety measures have improved.  
Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Protection said: “This pub posed a serious imminent risk to public health, by not putting in place the required COVID-19 secure measures, and therefore was a greater risk for transmission of Coronavirus. 
“All hospitality venues are now under strict public health measures in place to help halt the spread of this disease. 
“The safety of the county and all of its residents must always be our highest priority, and we want to work with all businesses to help them through this difficult time. Thankfully we are finding most businesses are doing all they can to keep their staff and customers safe. 
“However, we won’t hesitate to take strong enforcement action where we find traders clearly breaching the regulations and putting lives at risk.” 
Superintendent Craig Metcalfe, of Northumbria Police, added: “We will continue to support our local authority partners around their engagement and enforcement activity with businesses. 
 “We all have a responsibility to reduce the spread of Coronavirus in our region and we will continue to engage with the public about the restrictions. However, along with our partners, we are committed to taking appropriate action where necessary to protect our communities.” 
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