Can bars be open? Concerns raised over social distancing guidelines

As some bars and pubs opened over the bank holiday weekend, causing a few concerns and police call outs, we find the answer as to whether they can be open.

Over last weekend’s bank holiday, many businesses serving takeaway drinks and food opened to the public.

However, some concerns were raised about the actions of some customers, who were not socially distancing after receiving their items.

Police officers were called to a bar in Ryde twice over the long weekend — which was following the guidelines and providing takeaway alcoholic drinks — but the lack of social distancing outside of the property left a few passers by uneasy and concerned about safety measures.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson confirmed officers visited the bar to explain their responsibilities under the Licensing Act and to give guidance, saying they would continue to monitor the situation should further concerns be raised.

Despite concerns, officers did not close any premises on the Island for being in breach of the guidelines and restrictions.

Bars and pubs are allowed to be open selling alcohol as a takeaway service, but Hampshire Constabulary says it cannot be consumed on the premises.

Government advice also says you should still keep two metres apart from people and only meet one other person from outside of your household, in the open and not indoors.

A spokesperson from Hampshire Constabulary said: “Officers, alongside Environmental Health and Trading Standards, are working with the public to ensure they are observing the guidance outlined by the government.

“We are seeing an increase in premises still trading by conducting off sales i.e. beverages and food which is collected from the venue, but then consumed off-site.

“This is becoming more commonplace as businesses diversify in an attempt to survive these challenging times, whilst also continuing to provide the community with a service.

“If we receive reports of premises being open to the public which has not been deemed necessary by the government, including pubs, our officers will conduct compliance checks.

“We will continue to engage, explain the circumstances and encourage business owners to do the right thing in complying with the government request.

“If businesses are deemed to still be operating outside of these boundaries, and unlawful trading is still commencing, we may take enforcement action.”