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Pubs and venues following Covid guidance, as £412,000 in food vouchers given to families during Easter

Published: Thursday, 22nd April 2021

Pubs and venues across the city that reopened from lockdown last week are being praised for Covid-secure measures they have in place to protect visitors and staff.

Non-essential retail premises reopened from 12 April, meaning that hospitality venues could welcome back customers outdoors. Stoke-on-Trent City Council public protection teams have been working with Staffordshire Police to visit and support venues, and council teams have praised the work of pubs in ensuring the public health advice is followed.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “The warm weather has meant that lots of people have been taking advantage of sitting out in beer gardens at venues where they have the space and facilities, and at street cafes that we have licensed.

“We’re really pleased to see venues following their tried and tested Covid-secure measures and going the extra mile in ensuring their booking systems, one-way lay-outs, social distancing, and hand sanitiser and PPE arrangements are all following the guidance.

“There are a small number of pubs that we, and the police, are monitoring around concerns that customers are not following the guidance. This includes reports of crowds of people gathering and not socially distancing. It’s not appropriate to name the pubs at this stage, but we will be keeping a close eye on them and urge all visitors to venues to continue to follow all of the guidance that is in place to protect themselves and others.

“Our public protection teams have had very few complaints from residents about venues over potential breeches. On the one hand, this is encouraging as it again demonstrates a high level of compliance, but also there is the concern that residents may not be reporting issues because infection rates are currently low and people are enjoying the new experiences of being able to visit venues again. It is really important that we all remain on our guard against the potential to spread the infection, and residents must know they can report any concerns.”

Residents can contact the council’s public protection team via: public.protection@stoke.gov.uk.

Meanwhile, the council is advising sports clubs that they cannot have spectators at their grounds, even if they have arrangements in place for outdoor hospitality.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing said: “The guidance is clear that spectators are not allowed at venues, other than where a parent takes a child to a junior game where the child is playing. However, some sports clubs may have in place, or may be considering, outdoor hospitality arrangements. To be clear, should they have hospitality arrangements, those customers cannot be spectators, and so under the current guidance, they must not be there to watch the game, and clubs must keep hospitality separate.”

Council teams are also advising residents, groups and venues to plan ahead if they are looking to organise activities after the next step in the national roadmap out of lockdown on 21 June, when restrictions are planned to be eased further. Businesses that are looking to arrange events can visit the council’s business support pages via www.stoke.gov.uk.

Meanwhile, the authority has revealed it has administered £412,000 in food vouchers to eligible families over the Easter half-term break. Around 13,740 vouchers were given out, at £30 each, during the two weeks. The funding means the council has administered a total of £1,473,993 through the Department for Work and Pensions’ winter grant scheme to residents and groups in the city.

Councillor Brown said: “This money has made a real difference to people who have needed support the most during the past few months, and we moved quickly to ensure it was administered as swiftly as possible.

“The money has provided food vouchers to families during Christmas, February half-term and Easter school holidays; food for homeless people living in hotels; support for homeless people in hostels; fuel vouchers administered through local charity Beat the Cold, and fuel payments; community grants; temporary heaters; and funding to partners including The Hubb Pot project, helping families to prepare and cook healthy hot meals; and funding for the YMCA to help buy a refrigerated van, providing food supplies to low income families. The van is helping the YMCA to increase the reach of its food pantry to provide deliveries to people who can’t get to its pantry shop.”

The seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in the city is now 44.1 per 100,000 people, for the week 09 April – 15 April 2021. This is a decrease of 19.3 per cent on the previous seven days. The percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is two per cent.

Dr Edmondson-Jones added: “The coronavirus case rate is continuing to fall, which is really good news. We know that Royal Stoke University Hospital had a number of days without any Covid-positive patients being admitted last week, that the number of Covid-positive patients at the hospital fell into single figures over the weekend, and yesterday (Tuesday) there were zero Covid-positive patients in critical care for the first time since early autumn last year.

“However, our case rate is still higher than the West Midlands average. Please do enjoy our city’s many outdoor attractions, but remember that we are still very much living with Covid-19 – it still exists, it’s still spreading and it is still making people poorly. Please continue to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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For all media enquiries only please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.

www.stoke.gov.uk/news

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