PUBS and bars are being reminded of their responsibility to help stop the spread of coronavirus following a raft of complaints about venues in Colchester - with enforcement set to be stepped up by the council.

Since pubs reopened last month, concerns have been raised about procedures at Wetherspoons’ Playhouse and Fashions Café Bar, where Colchester Council issued a warning over a lack of social distancing at the venue, although the problems have now been rectified.

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

Council bosses are now calling on premises owners and customers to take responsibility, or risk another Covid spike and even a potential local lockdown.

Read more: Enforcement warning for Colchester bars not following guidelines

Public safety boss Mike Lilley said: “We have many fantastic venues across the borough which we know people have been eager to revisit as lockdown has eased.

"However, it is vital for the safety of everyone in Colchester and beyond that people follow the necessary rules and regulations.

"Many of our venues have put in place strong social distancing measures, but we are increasingly being informed of those who seem to be very lax on this front.

“We do need to support our pubs and clubs to reopen and start trading again following lockdown but paramount in our thinking has to be the safely of people and stopping the spread of this deadly virus.

“We will be working with Pubwatch and others to remind licensees and owners of their responsibilities.”

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

Enforcement action against premises found to be flouting the rules will be stepped up over the coming weeks.

"Everyone needs to play their part"


  • Colchester Council leader Mark Cory

Council leader Mark Cory said: “We have all seen the restrictions being reinstated in other areas across the country and it is not something we want to see happen in Colchester.

“There are many good examples of pubs and clubs following the regulations, but worryingly there appears to be a number that are letting not only themselves and their visitors down, but the whole of Colchester.

“It is only by everyone playing their part and following the regulations we will stop our borough following other areas into a local lockdown.”


  • Colchester Council has announced a push to ensure pubs and bars meet the guidelines

Pam Donnelly, Chair of the Safer Colchester Partnership, said: “We want people to be able to go out and enjoy a visit to our bars and clubs safe in the knowledge that the venue has taken every possible step to protect them from Covid-19

“While lockdown may be being eased it doesn’t mean that the virus has gone away. It is still very much with us and we all need to play our part in stopping a second wave and the potential of further lockdown restrictions being brought in as we have seen in other parts of the country.”

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.”

Colchester Council pointed to The Victoria Inn, in North Station Road, and Greene King’s The Kings Arms, in Crouch Street, The Alma, in Copford, and Rovers Tye, in Highwoods Approach, as shining examples of implementing the guidelines.

What are bars supposed to do?

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

What can the consequences be?

If a venue is found not to be complying with regulations a Community Protection Warning will be issued.

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