At least four pubs in England that reopened their doors for the first time on Saturday have been forced to close again after customers or staff tested positive for Covid-19.
The Lighthouse Kitchen and Carvery in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, said a customer had tested positive and a list of people who were in the premises on Saturday had been contacted.
In a statement posted on Facebook, it said: “This isn’t the message we wanted to write so soon, but the Lighthouse will be closed due to a customer testing positive.”
Sam, the son of the pub’s landlady, who did not want to give his last name, said the Lighthouse had contacted about 100 customers before NHS Test and Trace had been in touch with management. Seven members of staff who were working on Saturday received negative results on Tuesday after being tested for the virus.
The pub was closed on Monday after staff were contacted directly by a man who had tested positive for Covid-19. “We were made aware by the customer as soon as he got his test results as I know him,” said Sam.
Also in Burnham, the Vape Escape bar closed on Monday for a full clean after the same man visited the shop on Saturday, while the Indian takeaway Saagar said it would be closing until Friday to undergo a deep clean after one of its drivers had been to the Lighthouse Kitchen.
Leanne Underhill, the owner of the Vape Escape, said staff had been alerted by the man on Sunday morning, and had contacted all customers to advise them to get in touch with NHS Test and Trace. When she contacted NHS Test and Trace herself, she was told “following cleaning and contacting everyone that I could reopen”.
Under new government advice, pubs can offer only table service, and customers must give contact details upon entry.
According to UK pub and hospitality trade body guidance, contact details need only to be taken from one person in a group and must be kept for 21 days. Owners are also asked to note the arrival times of customers and how long they stay. People can refuse to give information, but owners can choose not to serve them.
NHS Test and Trace will ask for these records only when it is necessary, either because someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 has listed the premises as a place they visited recently, or because the premises has been identified as a location of a potential outbreak. The guidelines do not state that it is the direct responsibility of the premise owners to contact at-risk customers themselves.
If a customer or member of staff tests positive for Covid-19, others would not need to self-isolate unless contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service and advised to do so, in which case they will need to quarantine for 14 days, according to the guidelines.
Somerset county council said it was not treating the cases as an “outbreak” and asked people to keep to social distancing guidelines and to regularly wash their hands.
The Fox and Hounds in Batley, West Yorkshire, also said it would be closed until further notice after receiving a call from a customer on Monday to say they had tested positive for coronavirus. It said it was waiting for “further guidance from [the] NHS and track and trace”. Staff have been tested and expect to receive their results within 48 hours.
In a statement, it added: “The pub will be fully deep-cleaned, and when safe to do so we will reopen our doors. We fully understand this is a scary time, but want to ensure our customer safety is our main priority in these tough times.”
The Village Home pub in Alverstoke near Gosport, Hampshire, said it had also had a case of coronavirus, adding: “Some of us are in isolation.”
Its statement said: “The pub is now shut but all being well will open again on Saturday. Anyone who was in the pub over the weekend, there is no need to isolate unless you show symptoms or are contacted direct by the trace group. Thank you and hope to see you soon.”
A nearby pub, the Fighting Cocks, also announced that it would close temporarily as a precaution.
Tens of thousands of people flocked to pubs across England on Saturday as pubs and restaurants reopened. There were a number of arrests, but police said a majority of people had acted responsibly.