Harlow Council has praised the response from the majority of local pubs and eating venues who have been working hard and responding positively to keep people safe and their business open during the coronavirus pandemic.
However the council has warned that the strongest possible action will be taken against any owner who blatantly flouts the rules and makes no attempts to work with Harlow Council and its partner organisations to make improvements.
There are over 300 drinking and eating premises in the town and so far the council has only had to warn one establishment after complaints from residents and subsequent visits by officers. This continues to be an active case with Harlow Council’s Environmental Health team working with public health colleagues at Essex County Council and the business to ensure compliance with COVID-19 rules.
All premises have been issued with information on how to comply with the rules and how to protect staff and customers from the virus. Information can also be found on the council’s coronavirus page
Routine visits will be taking place and follow ups to any public enquiries and complaints about premises in the town. Complaints about premises can be reported by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
There are certain things that pubs and restaurants must do to comply with the rules. This includes: limiting numbers to prevent large gatherings and mass events inside and outside, making sure workplaces are safe for staff, encouraging social distancing and keeping records of customers that can be used for track and trace purposes.
Residents are also reminded to follow this latest public health guidance when going out or going to work. This includes:
- continuing to socially distance and limiting contact with other people
- washing their hands regularly
- staying at home and getting tested if they have any symptoms of coronavirus
Essex County Council under its public health responsibilities has the power to place restrictions on businesses who are not complying with COVID-19 regulations, working with and supported by local councils and Essex Police.
Councillor Danny Purton, Harlow Council’s portfolio holder for environment, said:
“The health and safety of all our residents is our number one priority and we will do all that we can to limit the spread of the virus and reduce the possibility of a local lockdown. Overall local pubs and eating venues have responded imaginatively to the public health challenges of reopening and keeping people safe. The majority of businesses in our town are working hard to try and keep to the stringent safety rules. Residents are also urged to continue following the latest public health guidance to stay safe when going out and to work.
“We will continue to support and work with businesses to ensure the rules and guidance are followed and we will actively respond to complaints from the public.
“I would like to thank our Environmental Health staff supported closely by the local police and Essex County Council for diligently carrying out their professional duties and responsibilities, sometimes in very difficult circumstances.
“We will continue to work with the county council and Essex Police to take the appropriate action if a business blatantly ignores the rules. There is a process that we have to follow including working with that business first to make improvements and monitoring the situation closely. The enforced closure of any premises will always be a last resort. But we would not hesitate to make this decision where people’s health and lives are at risk and there is threat that local infection rates could increase.”