No action to be taken against Covid outbreak pub in Stone

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Media caption,
Coronavirus testing urged over pub outbreak in Stone

A pub linked to 22 cases of Covid-19 after customers crowded into its garden and ignored social distancing will not face any sanctions.

Drinkers were filmed outside the Crown and Anchor in Stone, Staffordshire. The pub was later linked to the coronavirus outbreak.

Landlord Custodio Pinto admitted he was "complacent" in enforcing regulations.

Stafford Borough Council said it decided to take no further action but recommended he improved security.

The licence review hearing on Tuesday heard that there was a "total, reckless disregard for life" in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Footage of the pub was widely shared on social media "around the world".

"What followed was a loss of public confidence in the town," councillor Jill Hudd said.

Image caption,
Custodio Pinto, said he had increased security and staff since the incident

Trade in the town "fell like a stone" after the outbreak, which saw about 1,000 people being tested after mobile units were set up in the area.

The "popular" venue, which has a licence to remain open until 03:00 had reopened on 10 July, after the first lockdown ended, and encountered no issues.

But "word spread" and a "large number of customers" appeared the following week, Mr Pinto said in his statement to the hearing.

"Learned lessons"

"We had reached our capacity and doormen had stopped allowing new admissions. However, customers were climbing and jumping over the fence surrounding the venue and socialising in the beer garden," he added.

He apologised for what happened adding that despite training staff, using PPE, and carrying out risk assessments the level of demand was not anticipated and doormen and staff were "overwhelmed".

Laura Nash, representing Mr Pinto and his wife, accepted additional safeguards could have been put in place.

Mr Pinto said they had increased security and staff, although the venue remained closed as the town was under tier three regulations.

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