A bar in Swansea which had to make improvements to be allowed to reopen after being hit with a closure notice over coronavirus breaches has blamed people who don’t follow the rules
The Boss Brewery in Llandore is one of four drinking spots that have been hit with closure notices in Swansea in recent weeks.
The Three Compasses Inn in Clydach, the West End AFC Sports and Social Club in Townhill, and The Joiners in Bishopston all fell foul of the regulations, which saw them issued with closure notices until they made requisite changes.
Three have already done so and reopened. But The Joiners has announced it is to remain closed for the foreseeable future, because of the difficulties posed by the strict guidelines.
Boss Brewery blamed a group of young drinkers who refused to respect social distancing for their closure.
Co-owner Sarah John said the group had refused to follow staff instructions on wearing face masks and social distancing, and then refused to leave when police arrived.
“It was a one-off, isolated incident involving a group of young drinkers who refused to follow staff instructions on wearing face masks, and social distancing, and then refused to leave.
“We were getting this under control when the police arrived and asked us to close, which we did voluntarily.
“We have carried out refresher training with our staff to help with their confidence; they are naturally a little shaken after what happened.
“We would like to say a massive thank you to our regulars who were in the bar on the night and who showed huge compassion and sympathy for what the staff were trying to manage, and who assured us that they would be back and that they had always felt safe with us.
“We’re grateful for our loyal regulars more generally for embracing the strict guidelines that we have in place for everyone’s safety.”
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And pub managers at other premises agree the pressures of getting people to appreciate and comply with the guidelines pose a challenge.
“We are really strict about it,” he said.
“And it has worked in our favour, because we have people who haven’t visited us before come back in and tell us it is because we are all over it.
“Before the Welsh Government got stricter about guidelines, we had a three strikes and your out police for people breaching them.
“Now it is one strike. We have table service, so the only reason people should be getting up is to use the toilet or when they are leaving.
“If people stop to talk to another table on their way back from the toilet, we have to remind them to return to their table.
“We’ve had to have one or two more staff on duty, and I haven’t had a night off for a long time.
“It is a difficult time all round, but we are doing what we have to. There is talk of a ‘circuit breaker’ lock down for a couple of weeks, and that is worrying, because it is already challenging”.
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Noah Redfern, owner of popular Noah’s bar in Uplands, said he had been frustrated by advice coming from the Welsh Government.
“It seems to be constantly changing,” he said.
“One week they are telling you one thing, and the next they are telling you something else.
“We’ve had a couple of visits and the spotlight is really on you, and it seems like it almost doesn’t matter what you are doing.
“I’d say we have more than 95% compliance from customers, but you can’t control every single individual in the venue as much as you try.
“People are very unhappy about lockdown and want to get out. It’s having a huge impact on people’s mental health; I know of two customers who have killed themselves since lockdown began.
“There are 23 other killers in front of Covid, and if the government cares about society, you’ve got to question it. If you are under 65 with zero underlying health issues, how much of a risk are you at?
“But we have to do what we have to do”.