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By Michael Brown

Senior Staff Writer

2 October 2020

| | 5 min read


Diamond Strip bar warned it must follow Covid rules

Diamond Strip bar bosses are being warned they risk closure, thousands of pounds in fines or criminal prosecution unless they follow Covid rules.

A blue neon bar sign with the text Bar warned it must follow Covid rules

Newcastle City Council has issued a direction notice to the owners of Perdu, on Collingwood Street, after apparent raucous scenes that posed “a serious and imminent threat to public health.”

'Some premises letting the side down'

Cllr John-Paul Stephenson, cabinet member for environment and regulatory services, said: “Throughout the pandemic we and Northumbria Police have worked with our vibrant hospitality sector, providing whatever advice and support we can so that pubs, restaurants and cafes can continue to trade, but in a COVID-secure way.

“As a result of that pro-active approach to engagement and communication – which has seen hundreds of visits to premises – the vast majority of operators have shown a good level of compliance with new measures, and we must thank businesses and their staff for that.

“Nevertheless, some premises are letting the side down and spoiling everything for those who are bending over backwards to make this work and avoid a harder lockdown.

“In the case of Perdu we appreciate there may have been issues with regards the business and its premises licence transferring to new ownership, but that has now been resolved, and we are working as a matter of urgency with the new licensee to ensure they are keeping people safe.

“However, if that compliance is not forthcoming then we will not hesitate to take further enforcement action, which could see the bar closed or fines issued.”

Why did the council take action?

Over the weekend the council, as licensing authority, were supplied with social media videos of an event called Skull Kandi taking place at Perdu.

The videos showed many customers in close proximity, with tables and chairs that are too close together, little social distancing, people being allowed to stand while drinking and shouting, and free movement around the premises.

What must Purdu do?

A direction notice – which will be reviewed at least once a week – was issued to the venue based on the video evidence and the observations of licensing staff and police on a different evening, and it contains a number of conditions to protect the public and prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Staff must ensure that all customer track and trace data is properly obtained and anyone who refuses to comply should be told to leave.

  • Customers must be seated in groups of no more than six people and must remain seated in their group unless using the toilets, smoking area or leaving the premises.

  • Tables and chairs must be properly spaced at all times to ensure adequate social distancing between groups. Any tables and chairs that cannot be safely used must be removed.

  • Customers must not move between groups.

  • Table service must be offered and food and drinks must only be ordered in this way.

  • No one is permitted to sit at the bar.

  • Music or entertainment must at all times be at a volume that allows people to speak to each other without raising their voice.

  • In the smoking area clear signage must be displayed indicating the number of people it can safely accommodate and there must be adequate supervision to ensure social distancing.

  • Any customer not complying with social distancing requirements must be asked to comply, and failing that they must be told to leave either the premises or the queue to enter (as appropriate).

Educating and encouraging

The Perdu notice is just part of the enforcement work being carried out by the council and Northumbria Police in the wake of the new “local lockdown” restrictions.

Patrols across the city are seeking to educate and encourage businesses to do the right thing but where rules are persistently being ignored action will be taken.

Chief Inspector Steve Wykes, of Northumbria Police, said: “We will continue to support our local authority partners around their engagement and enforcement activity with businesses.

“We all have a responsibility to reduce the spread of the virus in our region and we will continue to engage with the public about the restrictions however, we along with our partners, are committed to taking appropriate action where necessary to protect our communities.”

Advice for businesses

Advice for businesses – including what the new rules are, how to be Covid secure, and what to do if staff or customers test positive for Covid – is available on the councils website at