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17 September 2020 00:39

ChronicleLive

A Jarrow pub has become the first to be closed in South Tyneside under new powers given to councils to help stop the spread of coronavirus. South Tyneside Council has served a direction to close on The Albion Gin & Ale House in Walter Street, ordering the pub to shut for seven days. The action comes after a number of complaints to the council's Environmental Health team about the premises breaching Covid-19 restrictions. The council say that despite "visits to the venue and assurances from the management", the pub has failed to ensure social distancing rules are observed, with customers permitted to behave in ways which contravene them. The pub's owners will now be required to make sure appropriate measures are in place to protect staff and customers before it can be re-open safely.

A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said: "As we have said time and time again, we will not hesitate to take action against premises which fail to comply with the restrictions that have been put in place to protect the public and limit the spread of Covid-19. They are working extremely hard to keep their businesses running during these challenging times while safeguarding their staff and customers. "However, there are others that are continually putting the health and safety of our residents at risk, despite significant efforts being made by Council officers to support and guide businesses to ensure they are complying with the Covid-secure measures in place. The Council is using new regulations, which have been given to local authorities to help respond to a serious or imminent threat to public health and to prevent the transmission of Covid-19. They include the power for councils to restrict access to, or close, individual premises.

The regulations were used for the first time in the Borough last week when the Council issued Directions on The Address in South Shields and The Clock in Hebburn. The notices required both pubs to provide table service only, to help limit the numbers of people on the premises and ensure social distancing could be observed. The action is being taken following a series of spot checks carried out by Environmental Health officers over recent weeks, with more than 40 pubs and 24 restaurants visited over the last weekend alone. South Tyneside was placed on the Government's watchlist on September 4 and has since been escalated to an 'area of enhanced support', following further rises in coronavirus cases across the borough. The spokesperson added: "The entire community is being asked to unite to halt the spread of the virus.

We are urging everybody to continue to follow the guidance around hand-washing, social distancing, gathering and wearing face coverings, when expected to do so – unless they are exempt. "Anyone who believes a hospitality business is not adhering to the rules is also urged to make their concerns known to the venue's manager. Sign up to our newsletter for the latest Sunderland news Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email A woman who visited a Sunderland pub after testing positive for Covid-19 is being probed by police. The 20-year-old should have been self-isolating. Pub bosses have now revealed four staff are having to self-isolate due to what some online have labelled "selfish" behaviour. And ChronicleLive can reveal Northumbria Police are looking into what action - if any - can be taken against the unnamed woman. Now a Sunderland MP has said those carrying the deadly virus who flout the rules should be dealt with "harshly". "People who are diagnosed with the virus are supposed to self-isolate at home," said Labour's Julie Elliot The city centre bar is currently closed, and will reopen Friday following a deep clean. According to the venue's Facebook page, the woman entered at 7.30pm on Saturday. Northumbria Police has since told ChronicleLive that officers became aware of the incident around 30 minutes later. She was then "spoken to" and sent home to continue self-isolating. The incident sparked a furious backlash on social media as the city struggles to control surging coronavirus cases. Currently Sunderland has one of the highest infection rates in England, with threat of a local lockdown teetering ever closer. According to Liam Duffield, bar manager at The Rabbit, he still has "no idea" how police knew the woman was Covid-positive. "But it is undermining how we are trying to operate safely for staff and customers." It is understood Public Health England officials have since scoured CCTV to see who may have come into contact with the woman. Four members of staff at the High Street West pub are self-isolating as a precaution, Liam insisted that none have displayed symptoms to date. "There is a good chance everyone is OK, but we just wanted to make sure and not take any risks," he added. On Facebook, the venue has insisted that it is "highly unlikely" anybody who didn't have close contacted with the infected woman would have caught coronavirus. "The guidelines suggest there is no need to get a test if you have no symptoms and no need to isolate if you haven't had close contact with the individual, which due to social distancing and hygiene measures being followed out is highly unlikely," added the venue. However, as the city grapples with the virus, the MP has urged the public not to flout the rules but instead unite to try and drive the sky-high infection rate down. She warned: "We are in a situation where some kind of local lockdown is inevitable in the North East as cases are rising "But cases are only rising because people are not socially distancing probably." She urged the public to remember the "basics", like hand washing While she was unable to comment on the incident at The Rabbit, Northumbria Police are looking into what possible action can be taken. Currently people can be fined if they don't quarantine following a holiday, or if they break the 'rule of six'. As he announced Track and Trace back in May, Health Secretary Matt Hancock called on people to do their "civic duty" and self-isolate, though it is not believed to have legal consequences if people flout the guidance. However a Northumbria Police spokesperson added: "Shortly after 8pm on September 12, we were made aware that a woman who had tested positive for Covid had entered The Rabbit pub in Sunderland. "As a result The Rabbit voluntarily closed for deep cleaning and officers informed the local authority of the incident. "The 20-year-old woman was spoken to by police and returned home to self-isolate. "We will be working with Public Health and the incident is currently under investigation." Thousands of people suspected of streaming films and TV illegally will receive a letter warning they could face five years in jail. Police will write to suspected subscribers of a service called GE Hosting, warning that they are committing a crime and that they are being monitored. The unprecedented letter is thought to be the first of its kind to be aimed at consumers of illegal streaming services. Before, police have targeted those behind piracy, like those selling 'loaded' streaming devices such as Kodi and IPTV boxes. However after acquiring Norfolk and Suffolk Constabulary are thought to have uncovered a list of GE Hosting's subscribers earlier this year after executing a warrant. "It sends a really clear message to those facilitating this illegal activity and additionally to those choosing to consume content in this way – users of illegal services are accountable for their actions and they will be pursued. "This will be an alarming wake-up call for people who use illegal streams. No one wants the police knocking on their door." list of subscribers to the service after having carried out a warrant earlier this year. have taken the unprecedented step of issuing individual warning notices to thousands of consumers believed to have been using an illegal TV streaming service. The letter, from the force's Cyber, Intelligence and Serious Organised Crime Directorate, will warn users that besides possible prison and a criminal letter, they could also be fined. It also makes clear that Police will continue to monitor subscribers' behaviour and that should recipients ignore the instruction to cease illegal streaming it could lead to further investigation and even prosecution. The list of subscribers is said to have been found on June 30, when officers arrested a man in connection with suspected illegal streaming of premium TV channels and other copyrighted material. The service was allegedly being distributed to tens of thousands of customers before being shut down by officers. The action is the latest in a series of raids and subsequent prosecutions designed to crackdown on illegal streaming and those profiting from it. Last week, Paul Jaques, 44, from Pontefract was sentenced to two years in prison for selling illicit streaming devices. In June this year, Mark Schofield, 49, from Radcliffe was sentenced to 24 months' imprisonment suspended for two years for selling devices that provided access to paid-for content including sport and films via his Facebook page. Aimson sold illegal devices that bypassed paid-for TV content – costing legitimate service providers more than £2million. "The running of illegal streaming services is a serious crime and by paying for these services consumers are giving their money directly to criminals," added Mr Sharp. Piracy is illegal and you run the risk of prosecution and a criminal conviction."