Pubs closed and fined for breaching Covid-19 rules
Two licensed premises in Carmarthenshire have been handed £1,000 fines for staying open beyond the current 10.20pm closing time.
The operators of the Coopers Arms in Betws and Betws RFC, were issued with the fixed penalty notices for breaching the current Covid-19 regulations.
Around 200 licensed venues have been visited by Carmarthenshire County Council officers in the last fortnight to check for compliance with regulations and to offer necessary advice.
As well as issuing two FPNs, the council has had to take action to close three premises where there were significant shortfalls in safety measures to ensure the safety of their customers.
They were the Biddulph Arms in New Street, Llanelli; the Greenfield Inn, Llanelli, and the Wheaten Sheaf in Abergwili.
They will now have to demonstrate a range of improvements before being allowed to re-open.
Several other premises have been served improvement notices, and will be re-visited, but the vast majority of businesses are operating well and have been commended for their efforts.
Council officers will continue making proactive visits to licensed and business premises, particularly offering support in light of new restrictions on the hospitality industry coming into force in Wales at 6pm on Friday, December 4.
The new regulations will mean pubs, restaurants and cafes cannot serve alcohol and will have to close to customers by 6pm, only being permitted to stay open later for takeaways of food or non-alcoholic drinks.
Cinemas, bowling alleys, bingo halls, museums and galleries must also close from Friday.
Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for public protection and enforcement, said:
“This is an exceptionally difficult time for our hospitality industry, in particular in light of the new regulations that come into force on Friday.
“Our officers have been working incredibly hard to support the industry and I want to thank the majority of businesses for making every effort to look after their customers and staff.
“That said, it has been disappointing to see a small number either recklessly or purposely ignoring the rules and by doing so, putting their customers at risk.
“We have made it very clear from the start that where we see premises falling significantly short of the standards, and where there are premises that are not operating within the rules, we will not hesitate to take action - make no mistake about it.
“As well as ensuring customers can meet and socialise safely, we must also ensure a level playing field for all businesses - most of which are trying hard to meet the regulations.”
There are serious concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in Carmarthenshire, with local hospitals and care homes now heavily impacted.
Welsh Government regulations make it clear that social gatherings should be minimised.
Hospitality venues, including licensed premises such as pubs, clubs and restaurants, must ensure that customers can safely social distance at all times and strict cleansing routines must be in place.
People can meet in maximum groups of four, but if they are from different households every effort should be made to support social distancing.
Table service must be provided, with no customers allowed to congregate around the bar. Customers must remain seated, and wear a face covering at all times other than when they are seated.
Contact details of all customers must be checked and recorded as part of Test, Trace, Protect procedures.
Any business owner or landlord unsure of the rules is urged to check they know and understand the regulations.