Pub goers are urged to prepare for and plan their visits, and follow health measures in venues, as trading standards teams respond to a number of reports of social distancing rules being flouted.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council teams are today (Monday) visiting three pubs in Chell*, Milton and Stoke, as well as a city centre venue after reports of overcrowding in bars, loud live entertainment where social distancing was not being observed and people queuing too closely together to get into premises.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “Our teams are investigating a number of reports on Friday night, Saturday afternoon and early Sunday morning of people not keeping socially distanced in venues.
“It is absolutely critical that people continue to follow the national health guidance, and follow the measures put in place in venues, for their own protection and to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“We’re visiting a number of venues to ensure they have the correct health and safety measures in place and that they are doing all they can to ensure the coronavirus guidelines are being followed.
“We have new powers to close premises that are not compliant. But in the first instance, our focus is to work with venues, to help them put the right measures in place, rather than close them down. We also recognise that there is only so much a venue can do, and people who are going to bars must socialise in the right way. This means prepare ahead of your visit: if you are taking a taxi, wear your face mask; use hand sanitisers and wash your hands regularly; follow the social distancing markings and restrictions in venues; and if you are asked to give your details then do so. This last point is really important – giving your details can help the NHS Test and Trace service identify and control the virus; it is for your own protection.”
Meanwhile the council is reminding businesses and residents of the Prime Minister’s statement on Friday (31 July) that the reopening of higher risk settings from 1 August will be postponed for at least a fortnight.
That means that, until 15 August at the earliest:
- Casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close contact services must remain closed;
- Indoor performances will not resume;
- Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will not take place; and
- Wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted, but ceremonies can continue to take place, in line with Covid-secure guidelines.
In addition, the requirement to wear a face covering to other indoor settings has been extended to cover venues such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship. This will become enforceable in law from 8 August.
Meanwhile, the national ‘Eat out to help out’ campaign begins today (Monday), and a host of pubs and restaurants across the city are taking part. From afternoon tea to real ale pubs, the city has an array of places to eat and drink, with Covid-19 measures in place to protect visitors and staff.
Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 31 August restaurants and cafes are offering a 50 per cent discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner). Residents can find out which local restaurants are offering the 50 per cent discount using the postcode checker: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/eat-out-to-help-out/find-a-restaurant.
Councillor Brown said: “We want people to visit venues across the city in a responsible way. Pubs and restaurants have been planning their reopening really carefully, so that people can enjoy their visit safely. It is down to all of us to follow the health guidelines. If we do this, the summer will be a wonderful opportunity to explore our city and enjoy what’s on your doorstep. Visit www.visitstoke.co.uk/stoke-cation for inspiration and start planning your summer Stoke-cation.”
The council is also reminding residents that the national guidance on how long individuals will need to self-isolate for if they test positive for coronavirus or show symptoms has changed from seven to 10 days.
The isolation period for other reasons, such as living in a household or support bubble with someone who has developed symptoms, or anyone who has been identified by NHS Test and Trace as a contact of a known positive case, has not changed and remains at 14 days.
Further information about isolation periods is available on the NHS website via https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/how-long-to-self-isolate.
For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.
*For clarity, the pub we visited was not the Hazlehurst Arms.