Harpenden pub fined for flouting Covid regulations

Skew Bridge Pub. Southdown Road, Harpenden.

The Skew Bridge Pub in Southdown Road, Harpenden. - Credit: Krishan Bhungar

A Harpenden pub has been fined £1,000 for serving alcohol without a substantial meal.

The fine was issued to the Skew Bridge in Southdown, for breaching COVID-19 regulations while the area was under Tier Two restrictions.

Two district council business compliance officers visited the pub to confirm the rules were being enforced.

The visit followed a complaint that alcohol had been served without a table meal in contravention of the Coronavirus Health Protection Regulations.

When questioned, the manager admitted the offence and was served with a £1,000 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN)– the first of its kind to be issued in the district.

Cllr Mandy McNeil, portfolio holder for business, tourism and culture, said: "A breach of COVID-19 regulations is, thankfully, a very rare event for the district.

“Our pubs, restaurants, cafés and other businesses have generally behaved in an exemplary fashion, following all the rules to keep their customers and the general public safe.

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“I understand the enormous pressure these businesses are under due to the impact of COVID, but the issuing of this FPN shows that we will take enforcement action where necessary.

“Indeed, St Albans district hospitality representatives from Save St Albans Pubs and Pubwatch have urged us to enforce where we see any major issues to ensure that there is a level playing field for all.

“Our business compliance officers have been working very effectively to ensure companies are aware of their responsibilities and live up to them, and I hope this incident will be a one off.”

The regulations are intended to prevent the spread of the potentially fatal virus by encouraging responsible behaviour and restricting social interactions.

The FPN was issued on Monday 14 December. Failure to pay it within 28 days could lead to a prosecution in the courts.