A CRACKDOWN on pubs and bars which don't obey social distancing guidelines has been announced by Colchester Council.

Since pubs reopened on Super Saturday last month, concerns have been raised about procedures at Wetherspoons' Playhouse as well as at Fashions, in Queen Street, where Colchester Council issued a warning about the lack of social distancing at the venue.

The council also says it has received complaints from the public about a number of other venues in Colchester.

Council bosses are now calling on premises owners and customers to obey the rules, or face enforcement action, as well as risk a spike in coronavirus cases.

The council, working with partners including Pubwatch and the Our Colchester Business Improvement District (BID) is now reminding licensees and owners of their responsibilities to ensure people can visit their premises safely.

Read more: Push to ensure pubs and bars in Colchester obey guidelines

Public safety boss Mike Lilley said: "We will be working with Pubwatch and others to remind licensees and owners of their responsibilities.

"I am also issuing a strong warning to those found to be breaking the rules that we will take what ever action we need to enforce them to do so or close them.”

Under the current government guidelines venues must:

Conduct a Risk Assessment to ensure they are Covid Secure before re-opening

• This would include having required social distancing measures in place and one way systems around the premises

• Limit the number of people visiting the venue at any one time

• Ensure they comply with the requirements for Test and Trace

If a venue is found not to be complying with the necessary regulations a Community Protection Warning would initially be issued by Colchester Council. 

Ultimately if all steps and warnings are not complied with the venue could be closed.

Andy Starr, chair of Colchester Pubwatch said: “Colchester Pubwatch supports the council in taking reasonable measures to enforce Social Distancing in the night time economy.

"We are all united in the fight against Covid-19 and look forward to the time when Colchester can fully re-open and start dancing again."