Pubs and bars could face ‘immediate action’ if they break social distancing rules, council says

PUBLISHED: 16:30 03 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:40 03 August 2020

Ipswich Borough Council has responded after this picture was taken outside Sin Bar in Ipswich at the weekend Picture: HARRY GRIFFITHS

Ipswich Borough Council has responded after this picture was taken outside Sin Bar in Ipswich at the weekend Picture: HARRY GRIFFITHS


Pubs and bars in Ipswich not adhering to Covid-19 guidelines over social distancing could face action, the council has said.

Ipswich Borough Council said it had already taken action against businesses for not complying with Covid-19 rules and would be liaising with venues in the town.

Its response comes after a picture surfaced online displaying around 100 people breaking social distancing guidelines outside Sin Bar in the early hours of Saturday.

Reacting to the picture, a spokesman for Sin Bar said the venue was “disappointed” with the apparent lack of social distancing in the image, but stressed that it does not represent the “huge efforts” it has made to ensure customer safety.

MORE: Ipswich bar ‘disappointed’ at picture showing lack of social distancing in queue

A spokesman for the authority said: “Ipswich Borough Council has been made aware of a number of concerns relating to social distancing at licenced venues within the town.

“We are liaising with those businesses today [Monday] and will, where necessary, offer support and advice in relation to how they operate their business.

“Where businesses do not act responsibly and fail to comply with either the Health and Safety at Work Act or the new coronavirus restrictions regulations, the regulations do provide powers enabling a local authority to serve improvement notices, or prohibition notices and if a business does not comply, they can be prosecuted.

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“We have already taken action against businesses not complying with the legislation and we will continue to take immediate action where necessary.”

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Isaacs, another popular bar on the town’s waterfront, said it deployed a “queue marshal” to manage social distancing outside the venue at the weekend.

A spokesman for Isaacs said: “Isaacs has been in regular communication with the council with respect to the challenges posed by social distancing.

“Isaacs reopened on July 4 with an entirely different way of doing business. At the heart of this was, and continues to be, our desire to keep people safe.

“We have continued to adapt each and every weekend. On the most recent Friday and Saturday evening, in addition to our security team, we deployed a queue marshal, who worked tirelessly to manage social distancing in the queue and, when necessary, to prevent further queuing.

“Licensed premises, who are all operating at reduced capacities, undoubtedly have a difficult task to manage social distancing. However, we will endeavour to do everything possible to provide customers with a safe experience.”

A spokesman for Sin Bar said it would continue to work with authorities to ensure the venue complies with government guidelines.

“We have worked closely with the various authorities ahead of reopening, adapting our venue to a more bar-style environment, to ensure we comply with the government guidelines,” the spokesman said.

“We will continue to work on putting additional measures in place to ensure that there is social distancing both inside and outside the venue, as well as seek further advice from the relevant authorities.”

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