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Source: Wales – City of Newport

Posted on Friday 2nd October 2020

Newport City Council, with key partners including Gwent Police, are working closely with local businesses to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of customers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since its outbreak, specialists in trading standards, licensing and environmental health have visited hundreds of businesses across the city providing advice and guidance on operating safely and within the current laws and regulations.

On 22 September, further restrictions were brought in by Welsh Government in Newport following a concerning rise in Covid-19 cases. Key elements of those restrictions included:

  • all licensed premises have to stop serving alcohol at 10pm
  • people are not be allowed to enter or leave the Newport City Council area without a reasonable excuse
  • people can no longer form, or be in, an extended household, meaning meeting indoors with anyone who is not part of your household (people you live with) is not allowed.

In a joint operation, Newport City Council and Gwent Police worked together to visit licensed premises across the city on Saturday 26 September.

Three teams prioritised different areas – city centre, Newport East and the west of the city and Caerleon, aiming to visit as many key premises as possible and provide compliance advice and deal with any issues identified.

Over 50 premises were visited. Social distancing, single household requirements, track and trace standards, general Covid compliance and closing time requirements were reviewed.

Although all on-licensed premises in the city centre were closed by 10.20pm, unfortunately, considerable breaches were observed at a number of locations warranting the issue of improvement notices to the following premises:

  • Caerleon AFC
  • Cross Keys
  • Duffryn Arms
  • Gilligans
  • Man of Gwent
  • Red Lion
  • Tiny Rebel (High Street)

Improvement notices are served under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020. Businesses are granted 48 hours to correct the issues highlighted or further enforcement action will be considered, including the option to issue closure notices. Full details of the notices can be viewed at www.newport.gov.uk/coronavirus

Councillor Ray Truman, Newport City Council cabinet member for regulatory services, said: “Our priority is to ensure the health of customers by working closely with our local businesses, helping them to operate in a safe manner. From day one of the pandemic we have been proactive in our approach, visiting all types of businesses as they were allowed to reopen and providing specialist advice.

“Unfortunately we are now subject to tighter restrictions again and it is important that we see these requirements met to prevent further cases in our city.

“Last weekend we saw excellent joint working with the police – for both organisations our approach is to inform and support, but where we need to, we will also enforce.

“We will continue this approach to ensure Newport is a safe place.”

Chief Superintendent Mark Hobrough said: “Since the start of the health pandemic we’ve been working with our local partners to protect and reassure the communities of Gwent.

 “We’ve been engaging with businesses to ensure that they’ve established covid secure measures to protect the wider public.

 “Thankfully the majority have taken up their responsibility and have put these measures in place.

 “Sadly there is minority of businesses that have not stuck to these important measures. Working alongside our local authority partners we’ve carried out enforcement to protect the public.

 “The message is clear, we’ve all got a part to play to stop the spread of this virus across Gwent.”

Officers have continued to visit premises since the weekend and will be active across the city again this coming weekend.

An example of further action required and now being taken relates to Breeze (11-15 Cambrian Road). An improvement notice was previously issued, however a licensing review has now been submitted under the Licensing Act 2003.

The review has been called on the grounds of the prevention of crime and disorder and public safety, due to the fact the premises was operating its VIP area within the premises with total disregard of reasonable measures to minimise risk of exposure to coronavirus, subsequently risking public safety.

There will be a 28-day period of consultation (from 25 September) to allow interested parties to make representations. The review will be heard by the council’s licensing sub-committee within 20 days of the conclusion of the consultation.

MIL OSI United Kingdom