SIX premises have been closed down across Carmarthenshire in a crackdown over breach of coronavirus regulations.
Carmarthenshire County Council, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police, have stepped up their enforcement of businesses that are failing to keep their customers safe as the number of positive Covid-19 cases begins to rise again in the county.
There is growing evidence across the country that where there are insufficient controls pubs, clubs and bars increase the risk of Covid-19 spreading in the community.
As well as the Drefach Cricket and Football Club, which was served a 14-day closure following a presentation evening which caused a cluster of positive cases, licensing officers have also served closure notices on Pembrey and Burry Port Bowls Club for 14 days, the Infinity Bar in Carmarthen for seven days, and 48-hour closure notices on The Railway Hotel in Ammanford, the Ammanford and District Miners Welfare Club, and the Golden Lion Hotel in Carmarthen.
Improvement notices are also being served on premises advising them to take action or face similar consequences.
However, the council said it was pleased to see how many businesses are operating well to provide a safe environment for their customers.
Many of those visited in recent weeks have made further improvements following the advice of the council’s public protection team.
Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for Public Protection, said: “In taking this action we are seeking to keep our communities safe. We have been visiting businesses across Carmarthenshire for several weeks offering advice and assistance, and we are really pleased to see how many premises have implemented systems that keep people safe.
“However, we are disappointed to see a number of premises failing to take their responsibilities seriously, and only in the worst cases we have taken immediate action to close them down for the protection of our communities and so that the owners can put in place the systems and controls that the majority of premises have successfully implemented.
“Whilst we have highlighted our actions over the weekend, our visits will continue to take place in towns and rural areas and we urge businesses to ensure the correct procedures are in place and properly managed to avoid action being taken.
“We will also revisit the premises that need improvement to check that our advice has been taken on board and put into practice.
“Serving a closure notice is always a last resort – we would much rather turn up at a premises and see them operating safely – but where we have serious concerns, we will not hesitate to put safety first.”
During the compliance visits, officers are checking that businesses are complying with the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions)(No.2) (Wales) Regulations 2020, and have the power to close, force improvements of review the premises licence or club premises certificate.
All pubs and clubs must ensure that:
A Test, Trace, Protect system is in place to accurately record all visits to the premises so that customers can be easily contacted in the event of a positive case linked to the venue
Social distancing is maintained, with adequate signage, distance between tables and seating, and procedures for managing walkways and toilet areas
Customers are not drinking and standing at the bar
Customers are not drinking alcohol whilst standing, unless they are standing at a tall table – in all other instances they must be seated
There is no live music, and that recorded music is only played at a low background level
Any business who is unsure of their responsibilities is urged to check the Welsh Government website, gov.wales (direct links – https://gov.wales/taking-all-reasonable-measures-minimise-risk-exposure-coronavirus-workplaces-and-premises-open) and https://gov.wales/tourism-and-hospitality-businesses-guidance-phased-reopening-html)
Answers to frequently asked questions are also available on the council’s website at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/business where businesses can also sign up to receive regular newsletters from the council.
Any business that requires further information or guidance can contact the council’s Licensing Team at email@example.com or call 01267 234567.