Police shut bar after drinkers 'ignored social distancing and owner was drunk'

George Martin
·3-min read
The Number One bar in Darlington which was temporarily shut on Saturday by police.
The Number One bar in Darlington which was temporarily shut on Saturday by police. (PA)

A pub was forced to close on Saturday after police found customers were flouting social distancing measures and the owner was drunk.

Durham Constabulary temporarily closed the Number One Bar in Darlington on “Super Saturday” because they thought staff were out of control and the landlord was “intoxicated and argumentative”.

The Wheatsheaf pub in Chilton, County Durham, was also closed because of “irresponsible behaviour”.

“When officers arrived at the premises the music was too loud and there was no social distancing taking place,” a closure notice at the Number One Bar said.

The Wheatsheaf pub in Chilton, County Durham, which police temporarily closed on Saturday.
The Wheatsheaf pub in Chilton, County Durham, was also shut. (PA)

“Customers were stood up at the bar, when staff were spoken to by officers, the staff stated that customers would not listen to their instructions and effectively could not control what was taking place in the premises. The bar owner was intoxicated and argumentative.

“He did not seem aware of the guidelines and was certainly not adhering to them.”

The bar’s Facebook page said it had reopened for business by Monday evening.

Chief Inspector Neal Bickford said: “We want to say a massive thank you to those responsible establishments who complied with all the regulations to allow people to have a safe and enjoyable trip back to the pub.

“We know it has been a tough three months for both businesses and revellers so it was great to see the vast majority of people working with us.

“We will always look to work with those who need to improve but unfortunately two premises did have to be closed on Saturday following unacceptable behaviour.”

It comes after several pubs have been forced to close their doors already because of outbreaks of coronavirus caused by the nationwide reopening over the weekend.

Health secretary Matt Hancock, however, claimed in the Commons on Tuesday that the outbreaks proved the contact tracing system was working “precisely as intended”.

His comments came after three pubs closed after customers tested positive for coronavirus shortly after Super Saturday.

"In reopening hospitality we've also introduced contract tracing for customers; this system is working. I want to thank all those who are making the system work and pay tribute in particular to three pubs that have taken specific action – The Lighthouse in Burnham-On-Sea, Fox and Hounds in Batley and The Village Home in Gosport.

"They have all closed for a deep clean and staff testing after, in each case, a customer had tested positive. They are doing the right thing by their customers and by their communities.

"This is NHS Test and Trace working precisely as intended. Three pubs shut so others can be open, and I think the whole House is grateful."

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