Pub and rugby club in Carmarthenshire fined £1k and ordered to shut for staying open too late

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A pub and a rugby clubhouse in west Wales have been closed down and hit with £1,000 fines after they stayed open after hours in breach of the latest coronavirus regulations.

The Coopers Arms in Betws and Betws RFC, both just outside Ammanford in Carmarthenshire, were found to have stayed open after 10.20pm, something which is prohibited under hospitality restrictions outlined by the Welsh Government.

As well as being ordered to close, the operators at both venues have been handed a £1,000 fine each after being visited by licensing officers from Carmarthenshire Council.

Meanwhile, the council has also closed a further three pubs in the county where they found there to be “significant shortfalls in measures to ensure the safety of their customers”.

They are the Biddulph Arms in New Street, Llanelli, the Greenfield Inn in Erw Road, Llanelli, and the Wheaten Sheaf in Abergwili, outside Carmarthen.



The Coopers Arms in Betws, along with Betws RFC, have both been hit with heavy fines

All premises will now have to demonstrate a range of improvements before being allowed to re-open.

Around 200 pubs, bars and clubs have been visited by council officers in Carmarthenshire during the past fortnight alone, who have been checking on each business operator’s ability to comply and to offer advice on how best to adhere to the rules.

The council has warned that it will continue to visit licensed premises both before and after the regulations in Wales change on Friday. From that point, all pubs, bars and restaurants will have to close each day at 6pm and they will not be allowed to serve alcohol at any time.

“This is an exceptionally difficult time for our hospitality industry, in particular in light of the new regulations that come into force on Friday,” said Philip Hughes, executive board member for public protection and enforcement at Carmarthenshire Council.

“Our officers have been working incredibly hard to support the industry and I want to thank the majority of businesses for making every effort to look after their customers and staff.

“That said, it has been disappointing to see a small number either recklessly or purposely ignoring the rules and by doing so, putting their customers at risk.

“We have made it very clear from the start that where we see premises falling significantly short of the standards, and where there are premises that are not operating within the rules, we will not hesitate to take action – make no mistake about it.

“As well as ensuring customers can meet and socialise safely, we must also ensure a level playing field for all businesses – most of which are trying hard to meet the regulations.”

The council has admitted that there are now “serious concerns” about the spread of Covid-19 in Carmarthenshire – the latest county-wide infection rate is 204.5 per 100,000 people for the seven days up until November 2 – and it has reminded hospitality venues of their responsibilities in ensuring that customers can engage in safe social distancing and that strict cleaning routines are in place.

Keep up to date with the latest coronavirus data where you live:

Defending the new regulations coming into force on Friday, the Welsh Government said in a statement on Tuesday: “We know that as the consumption of alcohol increases, social distancing and the perception of risk decreases. Wherever people mix, there’s a risk of coronavirus being passed on.

“If we are to be successful in keeping coronavirus under control, we need everyone to think about their own lives and reduce their contact with other people as much as possible.”



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