As part of the council’s commitment to supporting the economic recovery of our town centres following the pandemic, and keeping people safe and stopping the virus spreading; they are working with officers from the West Yorkshire Police to make sure everyone is able to enjoy a COVID-SAFE night out in Kirklees.
This joint exercise is especially important as students begin returning to college and university and are looking to explore the fantastic local nightlife.
The exercise which started in Huddersfield last weekend, involves council officers visiting local hospitality businesses to check that they have the correct measures in place to be COVID-SAFE and are operating in line with new regulations. This includes managing queues, only permitting a safe number of people to enter, using table service, keeping a good distance between tables, signs and advice inside the premises and of course access to handwashing facilities among other things and importantly collecting test and trace information. As of this coming weekend, they will also be making sure staff and customers are wearing face coverings when not seated at a table to eat or drink.
At the same time, the police will be speaking to people who are out socialising telling them that to stay safe they need to stay apart, and only socialise with people they live with.
Cllr Rob Walker, Cabinet Member for Environment said: “Our aim is to support local business by giving praise where due, providing advice when required, challenging poor practices and behaviour, and only taking stronger action where necessary. Most of our night-time economy businesses are doing a great job. Last weekend we saw some really good examples of how to apply the necessary measures.’
“However we must take action when measures to protect people are not in place, especially when earlier advice and support has been ignored. Unfortunately, this is the case in one of our town centre premises, and we have served advance notice of closure today (24 Sept 2020).’
“This premises was failing to manage numbers of people inside, didn’t have sufficient process for gathering test and trace information, and was allowing people from different groups to mingle leading to large groups of people socialising. They were also playing loud music and allowing people to dance – both of which are proven to increase the risk of the virus spreading.’
“This notice of closure will be in place for a month, with reviews every seven days. Should the business convince us that they are committed to following the law and keeping their customers safe we will look to reverse the notice.’
“We are monitoring a number of other premises following this weekend’s checks, and should their compliance worsen or they fail to make the needed changes we will be forced to consider further action at those businesses too.’
“We will also be giving a shout out to the pubs, bars and restaurants that are doing a good job on our social media accounts to both support them, and help local people make informed choices about places that are safe to visit.’
“I would also like to remind people that whether you are out on a night out, or just out and about during the day that we need to stay 2 meters apart where we can, wear a face-covering where we can’t, and regularly wash our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser.’
“Please remember we haven’t beaten the virus yet, we are already facing local restrictions around socialising with others, so let’s all work together to get it under control and reduce the chance of more restrictions being put in place. “