Businesses across County Durham are being reminded that they must comply with the latest coronavirus rules, or face action.
It comes as another five venues across the county are today (16 October) issued with direction orders and told they must immediately close for failing to abide by the latest measures.
Following a serious breach of restrictions which are aimed at preventing the further spread of the virus, Durham County Council’s community protection team has ordered Le Raaj at Chester Moor, The Glendenning Arms at Witton Gilbert, The Cherry Tree at Ouston, Peterlee Labour Club and Bishop Sports Bar in Bishop Auckland to close for at least seven days, or until the local authority is satisfied that they can operate in a coronavirus secure way.
The council has also issued fixed penalty notices to a further three premises for various offences under the Health Protection legislation, including trading beyond the 10 pm curfew.
Community protection officers continue to visit premises on evenings and weekends and any premises or person not complying with the rules could face a fine of £1,000 or closure, depending on the severity of the breach.
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection services, said: “It is incredibly disappointing to see an increase in the number of venues failing to abide by the latest restrictions as the weeks go on. These measures apply to everyone and by complying with them we can help to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.
“Premises must ensure that they are providing table service only, are closing at 10 pm, have the necessary track and trace requirements in place, make sure that social distancing rules are being adhered to and ask their staff and customers to wear face coverings.
“By following those clear rules, businesses can continue to operate safely and we would like to thank the majority of premises which are doing so. However, we will continue to take action against premises which are failing to comply, until they are able to prove that they have appropriate measures in place to protect their staff and customers.”
Meanwhile, Crimdon Dene Caravan Park and Thornley Officials Club, which were issued with direct orders to close last week, have now implemented coronavirus secure measures and have been given notice that they can reopen.
Any members of the public with coronavirus concerns can submit a form via the council’s website: https://doitonline.durham.gov.uk
Following discussions with the government today, County Durham remains at High Alert Level 2, but residents are reminded that everyone must continue to follow the law in order to avoid further restrictions being enforced.
Under current restrictions, residents must not socialise with people outside of their own household or support bubbles in any indoor setting, including in pubs and restaurants.
People are also advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work and not to socialise with people outside of their own households in any public venue.
Amanda Healy, Durham’s Director of Public Health, said: “Coronavirus rates are continuing to rise in County Durham and we must all do our bit to slow that spread and save lives. It is therefore vital that we all continue to follow the latest restrictions.
“I’d also encourage residents to continue to follow the latest public health advice. Washing your hands often and for 20 seconds, covering your face in public, staying two metres apart from others and staying at home if they have symptoms or are waiting for a coronavirus test result will help to slow the spread of the virus and help to keep everyone safe.”
Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus should get tested as soon as possible. For more information visit the council’s website: www.durham.gov.uk/covid19testandtrace.