This is the first penalty of its kind in Rushmoor, and followed several visits and correspondence with the owners of the business to support compliance by Hampshire Constabulary and Environmental Health Officers from the council. The FPN was served under Regulation 9 (1) of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No 2) (England) Regulations 2020.
Following complaints, police officers visited the business in Mount Pleasant Road on October 7 and found appropriate arrangements had not been put in place to reduce the risks of COVID transmission, particularly by failing to provide the correct management of the service of food and drink for consumption on the premises. Customers were standing at the bar, moving around the premises and were not seated while consuming drinks.
Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Operational Services, Councillor Maurice Sheehan, said: “I am constantly amazed at the cooperation and diligence of our businesses and residents in working together to overcome the challenges presented by COVID. But I am also astounded at the few who fail to do what is needed. Their actions potentially affect us all. The council, and its public health partners, have worked tirelessly since lockdown began to advise and support businesses and residents, and I am genuinely proud of what has been achieved in our community.
“The fact that we must now resort to enforcement to bring about improvements in how some businesses operate, saddens me, but I also believe it is entirely appropriate, with cases again on the rise globally, nationally and locally. We truly are in this together and, as the government requires, our enforcement actions will be proportionate – but firm.
“There is plenty of excellent advice for businesses and residents on the GOV.UK website – and we must all play our part.”
Local Licensing Officer for Hampshire Constabulary, PC Phil Dennett, said: “It is very disappointing that a licensed premise has been in breach of the clear guidelines around hospitality that are designed to keep customers safe.
“This demonstrated a clear disregard for the requirements that are there to protect the whole community during this very difficult time.”