A misunderstanding of the latest COVID-19 rules has led to a public house in Ruddington receiving a £1,000 fixed penalty notice for breaching current guidelines.
It’s after The White Horse Inn accepted a booking with a total of 34 people for a birthday celebration on September 26th – having initially refused an enquiry to host 72 at the event. Although each party was booked individually, on socially distanced tables of no more than six, apparently that contravenes the latest Government restrictions for the hospitality industry!
Rushcliffe Borough Council subsequently issued a fine to the Church Street pub for hosting a booking of more than six people – with the village business admitting its error. As the fine was paid within 14 days, it was reduced to £500.
Owner Andy Hunt tells us: “Since reopening The White Horse in July we have continued to operate safely within the government guidelines. The team and I have worked hard, adapting quickly when guidance changed to ensure we can still provide a great experience for our customers as safely as possible. Unfortunately, on one occasion following the most recent government changes, we didn’t get it quite right. This was a genuine misunderstanding and we have been working with the local EHO team to resolve.”
Mr Hunt adds: “We would like to thank all of our loyal customers for their continued support since we reopened and assure them and the wider community that The White Horse remains a safe, warm and welcome place for all. We look forward to seeing you.”
Currently the Coronavirus rules in England state there should be no more than six people at a table, only table service is permitted – with no service in bar areas – and consumers should not mix between tables. Beyond this, the regulations get a little more complex.
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods Cllr Rob Inglis says: “This was an exceptionally disappointing occurrence that an error of this magnitude could be made and left us with no option but to serve the fine. It’s so tough for businesses currently, we want to support them wherever we can to operate but the rules have been simplified and we will not tolerate complacency when it comes to regulations that are designed to protect the health of our residents.”
Mr Inglis adds: “The vast majority of business owners across Rushcliffe are taking their responsibilities around COVID operating very seriously and with the current rise in cases in Nottinghamshire it is vital all play their part. It’s hugely important that businesses remain diligent and implement all necessary measures to keep their premises secure for customers and help tackle the rising number of cases.”
The authority says it’s continuing to work closely with bar, restaurant and hospitality business owners across the area to advise and support on central government guidelines to operate in a COVID secure environment, including collecting customer details for track and trace purposes
The information being recorded at each site should include:
- name of each person in the party
- contact number
- date of visit
- arrival time
- departure time, if possible
With a surge of new Coronavirus cases in Nottinghamshire, and another Ruddington COVID-19 ‘lockdown’ on the cards, only time will tell what new restrictions may be slapped upon our village pubs and other ‘non-essential’ traders.
Meantime residents are being asked to play our part helping hospitality businesses and public venues in Ruddington by signing in as required by law – and, if possible, downloading the Test & Trace app to scan their QR code when we visit. You can read more >>HERE<<.