A bar in Halifax has been closed until further notice, after persistently breaking rules to protect staff and customers from the risk of COVID-19.
Calderdale Council directed Bar Rouge in Halifax town centre to close to the public from Sunday 23 August. There was a serious risk to health due to social distancing issues and a lack of controls on customer numbers. The bar will remain closed until the Council is satisfied that it can operate safely. Regular monitoring and follow-up visits will be undertaken.
Despite the Council visiting the premises over a number of weeks, giving advice on how to be COVID-secure and issuing several warnings, repeated non-compliance led to enforcement action.
The Council, in partnership with West Yorkshire Police and the local BIDs, is working closely with businesses and licensed premises to ensure they are providing a safe environment for their staff, customers and the wider community.
The Council and its partners have been giving advice, visiting premises, carrying out weekend patrols and responding to any complaints since pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses started to reopen from Saturday 4 July.
Cllr Susan Press, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, said:
“The serious risk of COVID-19 to ourselves, our families, our friends and our entire community will remain for some time, and in recent weeks our infection rates in Calderdale have unfortunately been amongst the highest in the country. So it’s vital that we all continue to do everything we can to protect each other.
“We know that most businesses have been following the rules and going the extra mile to look after their staff and customers, and we are grateful for this. We’d also like to thank the Council teams and our partner organisations who have been working hard to support premises to operate safely, as part of a range of ongoing joint efforts to get local infection rates down.
“The temporary closure of Bar Rouge sends out a strong message that we take rule breaking very seriously. It puts us all at risk, so we won’t hesitate to use our enforcement powers if we have to. Unfortunately we have seen a worrying increase in the number of warnings having to be served in recent weeks. Nobody wants to see further restrictions in Calderdale. We must all work together and play our part to help keep our communities safe.”
Action has been stepped up in recent weeks, since local restrictions were introduced in Calderdale due to high COVID-19 infection rates. A joint letter from the Council and the Police went to all licensed premises in the borough to warn them of the risks – to public health and potentially to their business – of ignoring the restrictions. A special partnership operation on Saturday 22 August saw 16 Council and Police officers visit 34 premises in Halifax town centre to give advice and check compliance, as evidence showed it was an area of concern.
The majority of local businesses have been making great efforts to follow national and local guidance, and are operating safely in line with the restrictions. However, a small number of licensed premises have disregarded the need to take precautions to limit the spread of the virus.
Officers will continue to engage with businesses to help them understand the rules and the importance of complying, but will not hesitate to take action against those who show a continued disregard for public safety, as in the case of Bar Rouge.
In the past month, teams have carried out 126 inspections and issued 20 warnings and four notice of action letters where premises have persistently failed to comply with COVID-19 related legislation and guidance.
As COVID-19 is still within our community, we should all continue to keep at least two metres away from people outside our households wherever possible, wash our hands(external link) with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching our face and follow the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it(external link)’ guidance to help keep ourselves and others safe. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home and book a test(external link) as soon as possible, within five days of the symptoms starting. Please wear a face covering when travelling on public transport or in a taxi. It is also recommended that people wear face coverings whenever they are indoors with people who are not part of their household or bubble.
For up-to-date and reliable information about COVID-19, use trusted sources such as:
Licensees looking for more information can visit www.calderdale.gov.uk