Five licensed premises fined for COVID-19 legislation breaches across Torbay

Five licensed premises across Torbay have been given £1,000 fines for breaching COVID-19 legislation.

The five pubs and bars, two each in Torquay and Brixham and another in Paignton, have been served notice of the fines after licensing checks by police and Torbay Council.

Breaches of the legislation included operating without table service, no social distancing being observed, staff not wearing face coverings, a lack of observation of track and trace requirements and late closing of premises after 10pm.

The breaches have all happened within the last month when the region was subject to Tier One COVID-19 restrictions, with the fines being issued during the last week.

South Devon Sector Inspector Howard Brugge said: “We will always take a reasonable and proportionate stance in relation to the COVID-19 regulations and adopt a 4Es approach of engagement, encouragement and education with enforcement as a final option.

“However, when the regulations which all licensed premises must abide by are being overtly flouted with no consideration for staff and customers, enforcement action has been taken.

“In each of these cases there has been a series of breaches of the legislation – at times multiple breaches in a number of areas – requiring ourselves and the local authority to take appropriate enforcement action.

“We appreciate it is hard for businesses and make every effort to not have to take enforcement steps, but our communities expect us to protect them, and in these cases, the fines issued have been appropriate and proportionate.”

Councillor Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council said: “We appreciate that most of the local businesses in Torbay are adhering with COVID-19 legislation and so it is disappointing to see that a few have flouted the rules. Enforcement is a last resort but this is a clear message that there are serious consequences

for those businesses that do not adhere. “We want to work with, and support, local residents and businesses during this challenging period. However, we all have a responsibility to ensure we continue to follow the rules set out by Government. Social distancing is the best weapon we have to fight the virus along wearing face coverings where mandated and practicing good hand hygiene.”

Inspector Brugge added: “The vast majority of our businesses and licensed premises have respected the regulations and played their part in making the communities of Torbay and South Devon safer.

“We wholly appreciate this is a deeply unsettling time for many residents and business alike, but will continue to work closely with the local authority to ensure we are doing everything possible to maintain safety for all.”