The landlord of pub in Staffordshire which has been linked to a coronavirus outbreak has admitted he was “simply not strong enough” in ensuring social distancing measures were enforced.
Custodio Pinto, who runs the Crown and Anchor in Stone near Stoke-on-Trent, apologised on Facebook after at least 19 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were linked to the venue.
Mr Pinto wrote: “First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest regret for all the anguish, disruption and sadness that the events that occurred in the Crown and Anchor last month have caused to so many.
“I have lived in Stone since 2001 where we have raised our three children and it has always been nothing but the greatest pleasure to be part of this fantastic community.
“However, on July 18, I accept that I was simply not strong enough in enforcing the Government’s Covid-19 secure rules, despite detailed preparation according to their guidelines.
“I regret I was complacent in enforcing these rules with the customers.”
An estimated 1,000 people have undergone testing after cases were identified at the venue, with health officials urging all staff and customers who had been at the premises between 16 and 18 July urged to get checked and a mobile testing unit being set up in the area.
Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, where a local lockdown is currently underway, highlighted that the problem is widespread.
“Over the past week, I have heard of numerous pubs, bars and restaurants who have been squeezing customers in, flouting social distancing rules, ignoring contact tracing and actively persuading mixed groups not to cancel bookings,” he said.
“These venues clearly have a disregard for the safety of both their customers and their staff,” he said, adding that he supports the Mayor Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Police in “taking action over repeat breaches in these venues”.