Sandwell pubs and restaurants urged to operate safely or risk closure

Published 13th August 2020

Sandwell pubs, bars and restaurants are being urged to keep their customers safe and limit the spread of Covid-19.

The plea from Sandwell Council comes after an outbreak was linked to a large gathering at one Smethwick pub and a Cradley Heath pub was closed for 48 hours by police following noise complaints.

All Sandwell pubs and restaurants are being urged to:

  • Record all customers’ details – so they can be contacted in case of an outbreak
  • Ensure customers only socialise in groups of up to two households (including support bubbles) indoors and outdoors, or up to six people from different households when outdoors
  • Encourage regular handwashing and good hygiene
  • Notify the council’s public health team if two or more staff test positive for Covid-19.

Businesses are also being reminded that indoor performances, such as live music or comedy, are not currently permitted and that karaoke, loud recorded music and DJs should be avoided.

Any business found to be operating dangerously could be closed down under powers given to the council under the Coronavirus Act 2020.

The council has yet to use powers to close premises operating dangerously – and it’s hoped business will continue to follow Government guidance on keeping customers and staff safe.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for safer communities Councillor Jo Hadley said: “All Sandwell businesses need to act responsibly to limit the spread of Covid-19 and make sure their customers are safe.

“For licensed premises, there are still restrictions in place in respect to overcrowding and indoor entertainment.  

“Pubs, bars and restaurant must make sure they are complying with their licensing conditions as well as the new guidance brought in to allow licensed premises to reopen safely.

“We want Sandwell businesses to ensure they are aware of the rules and to stick to them. If we find premises that aren’t operating safely, we do have powers available to close them down in conjunction with the police.”

Deputy Leader of Sandwell Council Councillor Maria Crompton said: “We operate joined up working across licensing, environmental health, trading standards, police and public health, aiming for an approach that starts with education and encouragement to secure good infection control measures and compliance. 

“However, if premises do not comply we will consider formal action.

“It is the responsibility of a business or an employer to ensure all reasonable measures are taken to limit the risk of transmission of Covid-19.  

“To ascertain whether all reasonable measures have been taken, any guidance issued by the government will be considered in determining compliance with Health & Safety legislation.”  

The Soho Foundry Tavern in Smethwick closed voluntarily last week (Thursday 6 August) after three people, including staff, tested positive for Covid-19 after a barbecue attended by 70 people. Anyone who was at the barbecue on Sunday 1 August must self-isolate until Sunday 15 August and get tested if they develop symptoms.

Police issued a 48-hour closure notice on the Holly Bush pub in Cradley Heath over the weekend following complaints of loud music.

More details for Sandwell pubs, bars and restaurants are available here and on the government website.

Business owners can get in touch with the public health team to report two or more cases or if they need advice. Email PHCovid19_Enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk or call the Healthy Sandwell team on 0800 011 4656.