These are the pubs, clubs, and other venues in County Durham that are fined for violating coronavirus rules.
According to the Freedom of Information Act, the agency has fined seven eateries of £ 1,000 since the pandemic began.
Some venues have defended the fines and a landlady of the pub described them as “unfair”.
However, Durham County Council said it would respond to “clear violations” of the rules.
Joanne Waller, director of the agency’s community protection services, said: “The health and safety regulations were introduced as an emergency law to provide councils with effective and robust enforcement tools to help them respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have provided advice and guidance to many companies during these difficult times, and we are pleased to report that the vast majority that were allowed to open have shown a willingness to comply.
“However, there have been a few cases where clear violations have been identified and as these cases show we will not hesitate to take action to ensure compliance.”
These are the venues that have been fined:
Shotton Comrades Club
Durham County Council ordered the venue closed last October for a “serious breach” of restrictions.
The agency reported that there was a lack of social distancing in the club, no table service and customers at the bar.
ChronicleLive can now reveal that the Shotton Colliery venue has received a £ 1,000 fine for lack of table service.
Attempted to contact the venue on Potto Street for further comments.
The Quinns Inn
The Spennymoor pub was fined £ 1,000, again due to the apparent lack of table service.
ChronicleLive made several attempts to solicit comments from the High Street venue.
South Causey Inn
The popular wedding venue was fined for management insisting that the rules were “misinterpreted”.
The Stanley venue was booked by two newlyweds who had previously tied the knot in the church.
The chefs believed they could legally facilitate booking by opening it as a restaurant and adding a “dining experience” to the wedding reception to celebrate their big day.
However, they broke the rules that limited the number of guests at a wedding throughout the pandemic.
“We put our hands up and we’re really sorry,” said one manager, who insisted that guests followed the rules, including wearing masks, throughout the day.
The venue did not appeal the £ 1,000 fine.
The red lion
The Shildon Pub landlady claims she was fined because the drinkers only exceeded the curfew by three minutes.
The venue was fined £ 1,000 for breaking the strict 10pm curfew last October.
But instead of holding a big lock-in, landlady Kirsty Forster claimed her staff were struggling to kick out some stragglers – who landed the Church Street drunkard a four-digit fine.
“It was 10:03 p.m. when they came in. There was a group of three guys who gave my employee a little chew,” claimed the landlady, who only took over the pub in 2019.
(Image: Craig Connor / ChronicleLive)
“When the police came, (the employee) thanked the police for helping get them out. But then we got the fine – I couldn’t believe it.”
Kirsty appealed the fine, but claimed officials told her that the fines would be automatically imposed on anyone who breaks the rules.
“I think it was unfair and I told him when he came and gave me the fine too,” she claimed.
“Neither of these guys had served a drink after 10pm – they were just a nuisance, like they do when they have one too many.”
It prides itself on being the “perfect setting for a luxury runaway”.
(Image: Ian Cooper)
To management’s shock, police visited Hardwick Hall last October – fined £ 1,000 on allegations that the 10 p.m. curfew had been violated.
However, the bosses at the four-star hotel, which is also a popular wedding destination, felt they had done little wrong – especially as the guests made their way to their rooms.
“We had literally just closed the restaurant and the residents were drinking,” said general manager Jon Hill, who said there were about six people inside.
“The police came in and said you shouldn’t have people in the bar. But because it was a hotel bar and lounge, we thought people could finish their drinks and go to bed.”
While there is no formal appeal process for Covid fines, the Council allows those who break the rules to appeal any communication.
This appeal is being considered by someone who was not involved in the original decision.
In Hardwick Hall’s case, ChronicleLive believes the fine was then paid while the representations were originally made by the venue.
Peterlee Labor Club
One of the five pubs, bars or restaurants that were scheduled to close for violations last October has fined the Peterlee venue a £ 1,000 fine for lack of table service.
After reopening, the venue reached out to Facebook to urge members to abide by the rules “so we can stay open as long as possible”.
The request for freedom of information revealed that the fine was not appealed.
ChronicleLive attempted to contact the Manor Way venue for additional comments.
19Twenty Bar and Grill
The central Durham venue didn’t open until August but has already run counter to council after it was found to be open after the curfew.
The council fined the restaurant a not-so-appetizing £ 1,000 fine, which has not been appealed.
The Elvet Bridge venue has not yet responded to a request for comment.