HOSPITALITY businesses in Swansea are stepping up to the plate to support their communities through the pandemic, spot checks by a council team have revealed.
Unannounced visits by the council’s public health team to night-time bars and restaurants in the city over the weekend revealed widespread compliance with social distancing and other Welsh Government regulations designed to stem the spread of the virus.
David Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Delivery and Operations, praised businesses for uniting with the council to do the right thing.
He said: “Our public health team visited a number of businesses across the city on Friday night, usually one of the busiest nights of the week. They were prepared to issue enforcement notices if necessary to force any business flouting social distancing or other regulations to take immediate action.
“However, they found good compliance in the vast majority of cases which meant that the visits could also be used to provide further information to the businesses they visited about the new regulations starting today.
“We’re really pleased that businesses are working with us to protect their customers and staff from the virus as well as playing their part in protecting their community from the threat of a lockdown.
“We do want them to know that our visits will continue and any business which is found to be flouting the rules can expect to be dealt with as severely as necessary. Our message to them is the same as our message to other people in Swansea: abide by the rules or we will face another lockdown.
“No-one wants that, least of all businesses.”
It is the responsibility of businesses to ensure that social distancing is maintained and their premises can be used in a way that is safe for customers and staff and minimises the potential for Covid-19 to spread.
During the full lockdown, the council took legal action against a gym operator in the city for ignoring repeated requests to abide by the law and close the business. Cllr Hopkins said the council would not shy away from taking action against other businesses if necessary.
Cllr Hopkins added:
“Ensuring the city is safe to visit is a priority, particularly as the number of Covid-19 cases is continuing to rise. The virus has not gone away. Neither businesses nor their customers can be allowed to flout the rules.”
Swansea Council has produced a new online form that people can use to report direct to the licensing and public health teams at the council if they have concerns about how a business is managing its responsibilities under Welsh Government law.
Cllr Hopkins said:
“From today (Monday) it will be mandatory for people to wear face masks in shops and other public indoor spaces. Businesses must enforce the new rules and their customers must follow the rules.
“Shop and hospitality business staff are not being rude when they ask customers to follow the rules. They are doing their jobs and they should be respected and listened to.
“At the same time businesses should be in no doubt that we will take action against any premises that aren’t operating in a safe manner. Officers will be continuing to carry out spot checks. They will issue improvement notices if needs be and will not hesitate to issue closure notices if that’s what it takes to keep our communities safe.”
Members of the public with concerns about a business can report it here: https://www.swansea.gov.uk/covid19breach