Barnstaple pub fined for breaking Covid rules

An image of the Rumours premises in Boutport Street, Barnstaple

Rumours in Boutport Street has been fined for breaching Covid-19 restrictions. - Credit: Contributed

A Barnstaple pub has been issued with three fixed penalty notices totalling £3,000 after breaching Covid-19 regulations. 

Police and council enforcement officers visited Rumours in Boutport Street on the evening of Saturday, December 12 and found the premises not being run in a Covid-safe manner by the person in control of the premises.  

Staff were not checking customers were part of the same household group or bubble before allowing them entry to the premises, the premises was not operating as a restaurant and serving substantial table meals to all customers. 

A council statement said the table separation was inadequate, customers were not remaining in their separate household or bubble group once inside the premises and were not abiding by social distancing rules. 

It comes as North Devon sees yet another spike in Covid cases. There has been a sharp rise in the 0-39 age group and a smaller rise in those aged 60 to 79. This goes against the trend across the rest of Devon where rates are falling. 

Council leader, Councillor David Worden said: "It really does beggar belief that people continue to act so irresponsibly when we have such a dangerous and contagious virus in our community. Not only are these people putting themselves at risk, they are risking the lives of their friends and family. 

"This joint action with our police colleagues proves how seriously we are taking breaches of this legislation. It is there to save lives and we will not hesitate to act on any reports of people breaking the law and putting our local community at risk. 

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"With the traditional 'Factory Friday' approaching, we are urging local people and pubs, bars and restaurants to keep following the guidelines so that everyone can enjoy themselves knowing they are in a safe, Covid-secure environment." 

North and West Devon Superintendent Toby Davies said the vast majority of pubs, restaurants and businesses had abided by the rules. 

He added: "We will continue to work closely with the local authority to ensure we are doing everything possible to maintain the safety of our communities.  

“For the minority who continue to act irresponsibly, both the police and the council have invested a huge amount of energy to engage, explain and educate - but sometimes this is just not enough and, as in this case, we are left with no alternative but to take formal action." 

If anyone wishes to report a breach of social distancing legislation, they can call North Devon Council on 01271 388870 or report it online at www.northdevon.gov.uk. 

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