Hastings residents urged to follow Covid-19 guidelines after three bars close

Residents and businesses in Hastings have been urged to follow Covid-19 guidelines after three bars were forced to close as a result of customers testing positive for the virus.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 2:44 pm
Social distancing signs and marking around Hastings town centre. SUS-200906-135956001

The Dragon Bar, Bat and Bee and Owl and Pussycat were all closed after customers contracted Covid-19.

Councillor Kim Forward, the leader of Hastings Borough Council, praised all three bar owners for acting quickly in following public health guidance to ‘ensure the safety of their staff and customers’.

She added: “These incidents serve as a reminder that the virus is still a real threat and emphasises the need for supporting the test and trace scheme.”

Cllr Forward’s comments came after Glen Reddy, the owner of Owl and Pussycat, said nobody from the local authority informed him of a customer testing positive. He said he found out from the customer directly.

He closed his bar as soon as he was told a customer had tested positive and attempted to secure tests for him and his 12 staff members.

Mr Reddy also urged the local authority to open a local testing centre to deal with increasing numbers of cases in the town.

“We’ve gone from pretty much zero cases to three bars being forced to close,” Mr Reddy said. “We’re trying to be responsible but we need support. When we first closed, we had the furlough scheme to cover us but now we’re open we don’t have that support.”

Cllr Forward said information about the test and trace schemes, both for business owners and customers, could be found on NHS and government websites.

She added: “We also have guidance on our website about how to keep businesses Covid-secure, and also for residents and visitors as to what to expect when out and about in our town.

“We are here to help so please contact our environmental health team if you need assistance with understanding any of the safety guidance or how to put measures in place in your business; you may feel the need for this support as the Government begin to announce more changes to the guidance regarding social gatherings.

“If you are a customer, please make sure to leave your contact details when asked to, it only takes a moment and could save lives. If you have any concerns about the lack of safety measures in a business, please contact our environmental health team by [email protected]

Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health at East Sussex County Council, said East Sussex is seeing a ‘slight rise’ in Covid-19 cases as people go back to work and school, but added this was ‘completely expected’.

He said: “We are not yet seeing an excessive increase of cases in East Sussex; but we may begin to if people don’t maintain social distancing and hand hygiene, don’t wear face coverings; if they don’t isolate when they have symptoms and if they start attending events that have not been approved.

“Pubs will always be a place where we may see positive cases occurring, as they are social mixing environments. Closing to clean and to reach out to the customers who may have been in contact with a positive case is very sensible and good practice, which we are glad to see has been exercised by these premises in Hastings.

“I strongly encourage everyone, whether a customer or a business owner, to follow the necessary Government guidance to help prevent the spread of this virus.”