A second Bishop Auckland public house has been forced to close by Durham County Council community protection officers after a serious breach of coronavirus rules.
Kennedy’s Bar, in Fore Bondgate, is one of the latest bars to be ordered to close for at least seven days, or until they can assure that they can operate in a coronavirus secure way.
However, pub owner, Christian Burns, who also owns a number of other bars in the town, has claimed on the bar’s Facebook page that the pub, which opened less than a month ago, is to be closed for “commercial” reasons.
“We have taken the commercial decision that for Kennedy’s to be enjoyed at its best it can’t operate as we need it to and as such under tier two restrictions it is unviable commercialy (sic)”, said Mr Burns last Wednesday, who also confirmed that staff would lose their jobs in the meantime. “We are sorry for the staff here who are passionate about it but these trying times are horrid for us all,” he said.
However, Durham County Council has contradicted the initial reason for closure by issuing a statement on Friday confirming that the bar was closed for breaching covid rules.
“As part of the restrictions which were introduced last month, premises must provide table service only, close at 10pm, have the necessary track and trace requirements, ensure social distancing rules are adhered to and ask staff and customers to wear face coverings,” said the statement.
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection services, said: “Our community protection officers will continue to visit premises on evenings and weekends. Abiding by the latest restrictions is something that every venue across the county is legally required to do and failure to do so could result in a fine of £1,000 or closure, depending on the severity of the breach.
“Whilst the county remains at High Alert Tier 2, it is vital that we all do our bit in order to protect each other from coronavirus and save lives by following the law and adhering to public health guidance. I appreciate that the vast majority of premises are complying and have health protection measures in place, but it is crucial that every venue does this and we will continue to take action until we are satisfied that the appropriate measures are in place everywhere.”
The closure follows a similar order issued to Bishop’s Sports Bar, which has since re-opened.
A total of seven premises across County Durham have so far faced action for failing to comply with coronavirus rules.
Le Raaj at Chester Moor, The Glendenning Arms at Witton Gilbert, The Cherry Tree at Ouston, Peterlee Labour Club, Finnians in Consett and The Smiths in Lumley are the other establishments so far forced to close.
Amanda Healy, County Durham’s Director of Public Health, said: “We know that the majority of premises and people in County Durham have been acting responsibly and we are grateful for that. However, for as long as we face a high risk of coronavirus, we must all work together to follow the latest restrictions, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.
“Following the latest public health advice will also help to keep people safe. Residents should therefore wash their hands often and for 20 seconds, cover their face in public, stay two metres apart from others and stay at home if they have symptoms of coronavirus or are waiting for their rest results.”
For more information on how to access a test, visit the council’s website: www.durham.gov.uk/covid19testandtrace.