Pubs bosses told: Do not re-open bars early or face losing your licence
Pubs are being warned to wait for official confirmation they can re-open, with Shropshire Council suggesting reports that they will be able to operate in July are treated with "significant caution".
The council, which provides licenses for pubs, said that the government plan to allow pubs to reopen after July 3 was based on a continuing decline in the rate of coronavirus infection and is not currently policy.
A spokesman for the council said: "We are urging significant caution when it comes to licensed premises in Shropshire.
"It is hugely important that businesses and the public understand that the changes planned for July in Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap will only come in if the evidence shows the rate of transmission of the virus is low, and the plans that are in place to maintain social distancing are effective."
It has warned those in breach of the rules could lose their licence.
The council also said it has received reports of premises operating illegally during lockdown but that its officers had taken a "proportionate and pragmatic approach to enforcing business closure restrictions".
It added that the majority of licensed premises had complied fully with the requirements.
Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing operations manager, said: “The council has a significant role to play as the licensing authority, and wants to emphasise that the position for licensed premises is exactly the same as it has been since March when the restrictions came into force.
“We will do our best to keep licensees fully informed of any developments, but for now, all premises must abide by the closure rules. Failure to do so may mean licensees are liable to prosecution, and also a review of their premises licence that may lead to their licence being revoked.
“We do understand that these are extremely challenging times for our local licensed premises, and we will provide the support they need. However, for now, I urge all licensees to be patient and not to risk their licence by trading other than where their licence permits ‘off sales’, and to do so in line with public health advice.
“I want to thank all licensed premises for their continued efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus.”
Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said: “The protection of the health and safety of the public is our number one priority, but everyone has a responsibility.
“It is crucial that licensed premises remain closed unless they are licensed for ‘off-sales’, and to only do this if they can ensure their premises are safe to protect staff and customers from the spread of Covid-19."