Plea for drinkers to queue responsibly after Ipswich bar social distancing row
PUBLISHED: 16:55 07 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:55 07 August 2020
Drinkers have been urged to queue responsibly outside pubs and bars this weekend following last week’s controversy over social distancing at Ipswich nightspots.
The Suffolk Resilience Forum, made up of the county’s NHS, emergency and public services, said it was concerned to see reports of people queuing up outside at least one popular nightspot in Suffolk last weekend, with no social distancing or “apparent concern for the welfare of themselves or their friends”.
Pictures of the scene outside the Sin Bar, in the early hours of Saturday, were shared on social media and show crowds of people not wearing masks, as well as not abiding by the social distancing guidelines.
Sin Bar said the picture “does not accurately represent the huge efforts which we made to re-open the venue, where staff and customer safety is our priority”.
In a warning released ahead of a warm weekend, Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk, said: “Coronavirus is still a real and deadly threat.
“The last four and a half months have been tough for everyone and I can well understand people wanting to go out and enjoy themselves after making sacrifices since March.
“Suffolk has been extremely good in doing what it has been asked to do during that time. However, we must not be complacent. Covid-19 has not gone away.
“We have seen other areas go into local lockdown, and if we are to stay on top of this virus in Suffolk we must all stick with it and keep on doing what is being asked of us.
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“It is vital we maintain social distancing when visiting pubs or queueing outside of them. Social distancing is also very important in public spaces and inside premises.”
The forum also specifically urged young people looking to enjoy themselves on hot summer evenings to continue to follow government advice.
Ipswich Borough Council has warned that pubs and bars in Ipswich not adhering to Covid-19 guidelines over social distancing could face “immediate action”.
A spokesman for the borough council said this week: “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 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, 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.
“We have already taken action against businesses not complying with the legislation and we will continue to take immediate action where necessary.”
Isaacs, another popular bar on the town’s waterfront, has deployed a “queue marshal” to manage the “challenges posed” by social distancing.
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