PUBS, bars and restaurants in Sandwell have been urged to do their bit to curb the spread of Covid-19 following a plea from Sandwell Council.

The call comes after The Holly Bush pub in Cradley Heath was closed for 48 hours last weekend by police following noise complaints and an outbreak was linked to a large gathering at one Smethwick pub.

Any business found to be operating dangerously could be closed down under powers given to the local authority under the Coronavirus Act 2020, council chiefs have warned.

The council has yet to use powers to close premises operating dangerously and it is hoped business will continue to follow Government guidance on keeping customers and staff safe.

All Sandwell pubs and restaurants are being urged to record all customers’ details for track and trace purposes and to notify the council’s public health team if two or more staff test positive for Covid-19.

This is alongside ensuring customers only socialise in groups of up to two households indoors or up to six people from different households when outdoors and to encourage frequent hand washing.

Indoor performances, such as live music or comedy, are not currently allowed and businesses are urged to avoid karaoke, loud recorded music and DJs.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for safer communities Councillor Jo Hadley said: “All Sandwell businesses need to act responsibly to limit the spread of Covid-19 and make sure their customers are safe.

“For licensed premises, there are still restrictions in place in respect to overcrowding and indoor entertainment.

“Pubs, bars and restaurant must make sure they are complying with their licensing conditions as well as the new guidance brought in to allow licensed premises to reopen safely.

“We want Sandwell businesses to ensure they are aware of the rules and to stick to them. If we find premises that aren’t operating safely, we do have powers available to close them down in conjunction with the police.”

Deputy Leader of Sandwell Council Councillor Maria Crompton said: “We operate joined up working across licensing, environmental health, trading standards, police and public health, aiming for an approach that starts with education and encouragement to secure good infection control measures and compliance.

“However, if premises do not comply we will consider formal action.

“It is the responsibility of a business or an employer to ensure all reasonable measures are taken to limit the risk of transmission of Covid-19.

“To ascertain whether all reasonable measures have been taken, any guidance issued by the government will be considered in determining compliance with Health & Safety legislation.”

Business owners can get in touch with the public health team to report two or more cases or if they need advice by emailing or calling the Healthy Sandwell team on 0800 011 4656.