Ensuring licensed premises adhere to the COVID-19 regulations is primarily a job for the PSNI, members of Mid Ulster District Council’s environment committee have been told.
The matter was raised at the committee’s meeting on Tuesday, May 11, by Councillor Trevor Wilson who asked for clarity on the “role police and Council play with regards to COVID marshalling”.
“We had a number of incidents at the weekend in Cookstown where social media and other outlets were full of people crowding into various pubs,” said Cllr Wilson.
“I would just like some clarity as to what our role and the role of the PSNI is in relation to COVID marshalling.”
In response to this query, Council’s director of public health and infrastructure, Mark Kelso, said Council officers were aware of the footage and are in discussions with the licencesed premises involved.
“With regards to the reopening of premises over the weekend, we are aware of issues being raised with regards to a number of commercial premises in the district,” he said.
“One particular premises in Cookstown seemed to get quite of a bit of attention and I will confirm the Council has been in close liason with the business prior to its opening and again in response to the issues highlighed.
“Having said that, licensed premises are primarily the responsibility of the PSNI as regards the control measures under the regulations and we have worked very closely with the PSNI on the issues raised.
“Hopefully, the relevant controls are now in place and those sorts of issues will not be repeated.”
Chief Inspector Mervyn Seffin said officers have and will continue to engage with licensees to ensure the community can socialise safely.
“Police have been working with partners, including the council Environmental Health team, to carry out checks at premises across Mid Ulster to ensure our community can socialise in a safe environment,” he said.
“Our officers have been, and will continue to, engage with licensees to ensure they are all adhering to their responsibilities as required under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations and the Licensing (NI) Order 1996.
“We will continue to engage with licensees around potential breaches and, where appropriate, advice and guidance will be provided to ensure the continued safe delivery of services.
“Our approach continues to centre around the four Es – engage, explain, encourage and, if neccessary, enforce.”