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Hotel fined £20,000 for breaching COVID-19 guidance

20 October 2020

A hotel has been fined £20,000 for failing to comply with Public Health COVID-19 guidelines, in the first case of its kind to be brought before the Licensing Assembly. 

Salt & Pepper Pots Limited, trading as the Marina Metro hotel in Havre des Pas, was issued the fine following a hearing heard before the Assembly on Monday 19 October.  

The Assembly heard that the hotel, which holds a 4th category licence, had been given advice on several occasions from Health and Safety inspectors and Environmental Health officers, as well as the States of Jersey Police, about the relevant public health guidance for businesses at level 1, designed to protect Islanders from the spread of COVID-19. 

The Assembly heard that the States of Jersey Police officers raised concerns with the licensee during two late night visits made in September. Footage from the officers’ body-worn cameras was played during the hearing which showed customers failing to physical distance, dancing to loud music, shouting and drinking whilst standing, in breach of public health guidance.  

On another occasion, also in September, officers flagged up concerns to the licensee about the number of people in attendance at a private event, which far exceeded the maximum number of 40 people allowed for gatherings set out in public guidance. 

Due to concerns about the health risk to employees and the customers present at the hotel, a Prohibition Notice was served on the company under the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989 on 25 September. The licensee was also referred to the Licensing Assembly by the Attorney General under Article 9 of the Licensing (Jersey) Law 1974, for the Assembly to review the licence in light of breaches of the public health guidelines.

The Minister for Home Affairs, Connétable Len Norman, said: “I hope this case will act as a warning by showing that the authorities will take action when licensees breach the Public Health guidance.

“Despite numerous visits and provision of advice from representatives from across all the regulatory bodies the Marina Metro Hotel persistently breached guidance which is in place to protect Islanders and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Jersey.

“We are all responsible for helping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our community, but hospitality venues have a particularly important part to play to ensure we can continue to enjoy the freedoms we have managed to achieve. This involves not just the licensees, but also all of those visiting such venues, playing their part to ensure the safety of those around them, and to act accordingly.

“I would urge any licensees who are uncertain about the Public Health guidance to get in touch with the regulatory bodies to ensure they are operating in a safe manner.”

Further information:

The Law Officers’ Department wrote to all licensed premises holding an ‘on’ licence on 9 July about the importance of complying with Public Health guidance and reminding them of the Licensing Assembly’s powers to review licences (including the power to impose financial penalties).

This guidance includes ensuring one-metre physical distancing between groups of people from different households as well as discouraging dancing due to the difficulties of maintaining physical distancing.

Loud music is also discouraged as it leads to people shouting, increasing the risk of the spread of the virus through droplets. Table service should also be in operation in premises that serve alcohol.

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