Stick to the rules

With much of the city’s retail and heritage attractions reopening – Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Public Protection officers will be out in force engaging, explaining, encouraging and enforcing the Covid-19 restrictions with the tier 2 rules coming into force.

The officers are working with partners Bath BID, Covid Safety Officers and the police and have already been visiting retail and licensed businesses to offer advice on the new requirements from December 2.

From Wednesday officers will be carrying out compliance checks throughout Bath and North East Somerset seven days a week during the day and some evenings.

Officers will use the full range of new powers where businesses are not complying with the tier 2 regulations in order to keep people safe and help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Councils can now issue improvement and restriction notices to premises that are not complying with COVID-19 secure regulations and where these notices are breached, Fixed Penalty notices will be served.

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “We want to reassure people that our public protection officers will be out in force to engage, explain, encourage and where necessary enforce the new tier 2 restrictions.

“They are playing an essential role in both helping retailers, pubs and restaurants reopen safely as well as making sure we continue to drive numbers down and stop the spread of this terrible virus.

“During the lockdown our officers visited more than 1,500 businesses across Bath and North East to ensure they were complying with the lockdown restrictions. Our officers found the vast majority were adhering to the rules, with just with just 27 found to be non-compliant and issued with advice. We want to see a similar if not better rate of success when tier 2 comes into force.”

Under tier 2 the guidance is:

  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
  • pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol whilst serving substantial meals
  • hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
    • provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
    • close between 11pm and 5am
    • stop taking orders after 10pm
  • hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • other businesses, such as theatres and cinemas will be required to close at 11pm

In addition to the work of the Public Protection Team additional Covid Safety Officers are being drafted in over the Christmas period to provide advice and guidance to shoppers and businesses. 

The full guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know

Covid-Secure offences include where

  • Premises are failing to adhere to social contact limits on bookings and mingling on the premises
  • Premises are failing to adhere to table service requirements or ensure adequate spacing between tables
  • Premises are failing to take adequate measures, such as displaying a poster, to remind customers of the need to wear a face covering 
  • Premises are failing to maintain staff and customer details for NHS Test and Trace 
  • Hospitality venues are failing to deny entry to customers who refuse to provide their details for NHS Test and Trace.
  • Employers are forcing workers who should be self-isolating to come to work.

The New Enforcement Powers are:

  • Coronavirus Improvement Notices – which will give premises 48hrs to rapidly implement Covid-Secure measures.
  • Coronavirus Restriction Notices – which will close premises that have failed to implement the necessary measures required by an Improvement Notice
  • Coronavirus Immediate Restriction Notices – which will close premises that pose a public health risk for an initial 48 hours to give the premises time to put in necessary safeguards