Council and police urge caution as pubs, bars and restaurants prepare to reopen

By Jamie Hill - 3 July 2020

Community

The Council is urging residents to act sensibly this weekend as hospitality businesses prepare to reopen across Swindon.

Following further easing of the coronavirus restrictions, businesses in the hospitality sector – pubs, bars and restaurants – will be allowed to reopen from Saturday, 4 July.

The Council is expecting around 17 venues in the town centre and Old Town to reopen. Most of these will be operating at around 50 per cent capacity. 

Residents should contact any restaurants, pubs or other businesses beforehand to find out if they are open and what safety measures are in place. 

Swindon Borough Council has been working alongside local businesses, Wiltshire Police and business groups to support the safe implementation of the new social distancing guidance issued by the Government. 

Advice and support has been provided to local businesses around reopening safely while markings and signage are in place to remind people to continue to socially distance while out and about.  

Council officers, along with Wiltshire Police, will be monitoring the streets over the weekend to ensure the safety of those visiting and working in premises across the town. Action will be taken against any individuals or businesses that do not adhere to the guidelines. 

When visiting a venue, the public may be asked to provide contact details in order for the NHS Test and Trace to request access to this information if required to help contain outbreaks. Businesses will keep this data for 21 days. 

Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “Swindon residents have been extremely responsible in adhering to the government guidelines in place throughout lockdown. However, the success in reopening businesses and services will rely heavily on us all continuing to follow the rules.  

“We have worked closely with our local pubs, bars, restaurants and other businesses to help them prepare and run their businesses safely under new guidance.  

“Peoples’ experiences at pubs and restaurants this weekend will be very different from what we were used to pre-COVID. I would urge everyone to behave sensibly and look out for each other so that staff and other residents feel safe and can enjoy themselves.”

Justin Britchford, Chairman of Pubwatch, said: “We are pleased to have been working closely with the Council and police in preparation for the safe opening of our venues across the town this weekend. If you are heading out, please be prepared for venues to have reduced capacity to normal and the potential need to queue.

“Although each venue will differ according to what is safe for their premises, some of the measures you can expect to see are staff wearing PPE, hand sanitising stations, one-way systems, social distancing and some venues may have booking systems in place.

“Please be mindful of the guidance and be patient with each other and those working, these are stressful times for all of us and we want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable weekend.”

Superintendent Gavin Williams, Head of Operations at Wiltshire Police, said: “From 4 July, many pubs and restaurants will reopen with restrictions still in place. However, we must not get away from the fact that Coronavirus is still here and remains a serious threat to public health.

“While we understand and appreciate people will want to take advantage of this opportunity, it is vital that everyone still adheres to the government guidance to stop the spread of the virus, including social distancing, increased hygiene measures and following instructions from staff. 

“If you are visiting a bar or restaurant, our message is clear; plan your visit, drink responsibly, follow the guidance. 

“We know that the vast majority of people will behave responsibly but some people will drink to excess and become vulnerable to harm or indeed cause harm to others.

“Anti-social or criminal behaviour will not be tolerated here in Wiltshire and Swindon, and we continue to work with the night-time economy and partners to ensure safety and cut crime.” 

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