Venues reminded of need to have proper Covid procedures

Licensed premises that do not implement adequate Covid-19 controls face being issued with improvement notices or having their licences reviewed, Lancaster City Council has warned today.

The warning comes after notices requiring immediate improvements were served under the Health and Safety at Work Act on The Palatine, Brittlestar, The Bull and The Joiners in Morecambe, along with the Collegian Club and Squires in Lancaster.

Key reasons for issuing the notices include a lack of or inadequate Covid risk assessments, absence of adequate controls to keep staff and customers safe, customer seating being too close together, and poor management of queues outside the venues.

They follow weeks of work by the council and police to help businesses open safely, with advice and visits to help and support compliance.

More than 200 visits have been made since then to pubs and bars, many conducted at night and over the weekends, to monitor compliance and offering further guidance, with the majority of businesses responding positively.

Further visits will be made this weekend, with those that fail to comply with restrictions also warned that the council could call for a review of their premises licences if there is evidence that any of the four licensing objectives, one of which is public safety, are not being promoted,

Councillor Dave Brookes, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, said: “Over the last month, council Public Protection teams have been working very closely with pubs and bars, to ensure they have the information they need to help them open safely.

“There is no doubt that this can be a challenge, but for the most part licensed premises have responded extremely well, with some excellent examples of innovation and good practice in place to help keep staff and customers safe. I'm grateful for this positive response, and would also like to thank the public who have taken the restrictions in their stride.

“It is therefore very disappointing that a small number of premises have not taken the necessary steps to trade safely, despite advice and guidance being made readily available.

“Large or small, urban or rural, all venues need to put public safety first and maintain social distancing to minimise the risk of outbreaks. No one should want to see a return to increased restrictions or a local lockdown as has happened elsewhere.

“Where effective controls are not in place, our Environmental Health Officers will not hesitate to use their enforcement powers to bring about improvements to public safety.”

Inspector James Martin, from the Local Policing Team, added: “The police understand and recognise the lengths that premises have gone to in making their venues safe for customers and staff. 

“We will continue to offer support and guidance where needed, but will take positive action if public safety is put at risk.  We are looking forward to working with communities to ensure that our leisure industry returns to its once vibrant state as it was before Covid-19.”

For further information and support, businesses are encouraged to visit the council’s website at Lancaster.gov.uk/coronavirus or contact the environmental health team on environmentalhealth@lancaster.gov.uk.

Last updated: 23 July 2020