Pub patrols to support reopening

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Last Updated: 01 Jul 2020 2:30pm

High visibility patrols will form part of multi-agency measures in Tonbridge and Malling to support the reopening of pubs, restaurants and other businesses across the borough from this Saturday (4 July).

Government rules require landlords and business owners to adapt how they operate to enable social distancing and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections. This includes table-only service, restricting the number of customers, reconfiguring seating layouts and providing hand sanitiser on entry.

As the licencing body for approximately 380 pubs, restaurants, cafes and a range of other businesses in the borough, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council is implementing a package of support measures. Council leader Nicolas Heslop and Cllr Des Keers, chair of the licensing panel, yesterday hosted the first in a series of briefings for publicans and other hospitality sector businesses. Those attending were given information on risk assessments, the approach to enforcement and offered an opportunity to share their plans.

The council will deploy information officers and licensing teams in towns and villages to check that rules are being observed. They will provide guidance where needed and work with Kent Police to take action if problems are identified. Council officers have powers to serve compliance notices for failure to carry out risk assessments or implement adequate controls. If issues persist, business-owners may be prosecuted and face an unlimited fine.

Council offices at Kings Hill and Tonbridge Castle will also be re-opening with special measures in place from Monday 6 July. Visits will be by appointment only and payment kiosks will not be available. Residents are being asked to make payments online or via telephone instead. Counter screens have also been installed to protect staff and visitors. Anyone wishing to make an appointment is asked to call 01732 844522.

Cllr Des Keers said: “It’s great news that people can start socialising again but these latest changes also pose potential risks, especially if business owners or their customers don’t stick to the rules. We want to see people enjoying themselves in our towns and villages but everyone must take their responsibilities seriously. While the primary duty to protect customers and staff rests with landlords and business owners, we won’t hesitate to take action if there are problems.”