'Endangering the public': Shrewsbury pub forced to close for flouting Covid rules

A pub in Shrewsbury has been forced to close for "endangering the public" and breaching coronavirus restrictions.

The Rock and Fountain in Castle Foregate, Shrewsbury. Photo: Google StreetView
The Rock and Fountain in Castle Foregate, Shrewsbury. Photo: Google StreetView

Shropshire Council said it took immediate action against The Rock and Fountain Inn, at 32 Castle Foregate, after "significant failures" to comply with key Covid-19 safety measures.

The authority said evidence showed breaches in relation to social distancing, mixing of households and other coronavirus measures designed to keep customers and staff safe.

The pub was closed through a direction issued in accordance with the The Health Protection Regulations 2020 and will remain shut until January 11.

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The closure will be reviewed before the reopening date to determine whether there is evidence of improvements that would justify an earlier reopening.

Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, said: “Businesses have a responsibility – not only to their staff and customers – but to the wider community, and there must be consequences when Covid-19 guidance is simply ignored. This is serious and Shropshire Council will continue to work with West Mercia Police to enforce the restrictions.

“Reports had been made to the council that The Rock and Fountain Inn failed to comply with the regulations or follow Government guidance, and was operating with no regard for social distancing or public health.

“The way in which this pub was being run was endangering the public by risking the spread of Covid-19.”

Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing operations manager, said: “It is regrettable that action had to be taken to close a business, particularly in the current climate where many businesses are struggling to recover.

“The council has previously advised the pub, but guidance was ignored and safe working practices have continued to be breached. In light of the risks to public safety action was taken accordingly.

“This course of action was certainly not taken lightly. I do hope that this will act as a deterrent to any premises that may still be breaching Covid-19 restrictions; we are taking such matters extremely seriously and will use the enforcement tools at our disposal when there is a blatant disregard for the rules that put people at risk.”

The latest closure comes after other pubs across Shropshire were issued similar notices, including in Bridgnorth and Telford.

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