Devon pubs and AirBnb warn of Covid rules

A handful of Devon companies, including an AirBnb, have been warned of the Covid rule violation.

In the second stage of the out-of-lockdown roadmap, non-essential retail businesses, personal care facilities such as hairdressers and nail salons, outdoor hospitality areas, and self-contained accommodation such as campsites and vacation rentals were among the premises that could reopen.

Although a handful of complaints from companies operating outside the new guidelines have been lodged with Devon councils, no formal action has been taken against the companies, with those who spoke informally accepting the mistakes that had been made. committed, often due to confusion over the details of the legislation.

An Airbnb apartment was working when it shouldn’t have been because it shared an entrance, stairwell and hallway with other residents. As a result, reservations until May 17 were canceled, while several outdoor shelters erected in pubs had to be altered because they did not comply with regulations on the condition that they opened 50 percent for be considered as external.

On whether any complaints had been made to them, a spokesperson for East Devon District Council said: ‘There have been several cases but not many directly related to Stage 2, which began on April 12.

“Our Covid compliance officers were in contact with a working Airbnb apartment, but since it shared an entrance, stairwell and hallway with other residents, it shouldn’t have been.

“Following advice, guidance and help from our agents, the host has now canceled all reservations until May 17th.

“We also offered advice and guidance to a very small number of pubs and cafes that had outside marquees with more than the maximum, 50% of the side walls, closed.

“Overall, most companies are doing everything they can to comply. When advice was given it was accepted and no further action or sanction was necessary. “

Janet Williams, public health and housing manager for Torridge District Council, said: “The majority of businesses have recognized the importance of following reopening rules, both for customer safety and to monitor customers. new epidemics affecting the economy. A dozen cases of potential rule violations were reported to Council recently and our team of officers investigated each one very quickly.

“Some issues regarding the continued requirement to adhere to social distancing measures at outdoor venues and the wearing of appropriate masks were highlighted. We also investigated some concerns about vacation homes that have common or shared access facilities. In each case, the companies have been cooperative and have agreed to change their approach and control of customers and fortunately virus levels are still very low in the region.

“However, it is vitally important that businesses and customers continue to be patient and follow the rules to avoid a setback to recovery and normalcy. The virus has not gone away, but with a combination of vaccination and continued vigilance, we hope to continue to stay on top of any new outbreaks. “

A spokesperson for South Hams District Council said: ‘The council continues to proactively work with local businesses to ensure they are operating within the COVID restrictions entered from April 12. In general, businesses and the public have welcomed the support of Covid. compliance officers to keep their cities safe. South Hams District Council has issued 16 outdoor seating licenses and two sidewalk licenses to allow outdoor dining and we have not taken any action since April 12.

A spokesperson for the Mid Devon District Council said: ‘Where possible, we will try to work alongside businesses and provide Covid-19 support and advice to those in need. Enforcement actions are taken very seriously and are only taken as a last resort. The decision to take action also depends on the nature of the violation in question. While we have received complaints, we have yet to take enforcement action against businesses following the new restrictions that took effect on April 12. “

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The head of the North Devon Council’s food safety and health and safety department, Pam Charles, confirmed that she had received 11 complaints about companies – four about outdoor shelters not complying with the regulations to be ‘at home’. outside ”, three on rented holiday homes, three others the lack of social distancing, other Covid measures in approved premises and one in a hairdressing salon lacking face coverings and / or an appointment system. you.

All were dealt with through informal actions with visits, advice given, followed up to ensure future compliance, she said.

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