Eight Wetherspoon staff self-isolating after worker tests positive for coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 16:00 03 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:45 04 August 2020
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Eight staff members have been sent home to self-isolate after a worker at a Wetherspoons pub tested positive for coronavirus.
So far customers who have visited The William Adams in Gorleston High Street have not been notified under the NHS test and trace system and are being told only to get tested if they have symptoms of the virus.
On Sunday (August 2) an environmental services team visited the pub which had been thoroughly cleaned.
Officials said all correct procedures had been followed and the pub was allowed to continue trading, warning that could change if more cases were confirmed.
Pub spokesman Eddie Gershon said 29 staff members had been identfied as being on site at the same time as the infected worker during the week beginning July 27.
All were being contacted and so far eight had confirmed they had been in close contact with the employee who has Covid and were now in isolation for 14 days.
He said: “An employee at the William Adams, Gorleston, came into contact with someone outside the pub, as we understand it, who had tested positive for Covid-19.
“The employee arranged for a test which was positive.
“Following Environmental Health guidelines, the company has asked those employees working in close proximity with the affected employee to self-isolate for 14 days.
“The advice Wetherspoon has received from the authorities indicates that those employees working with someone who tests positive should self-isolate if they have been within two metres for 15 minutes or more – for example, working next to someone on the bar or in the kitchen.
“In these circumstances, it has not been the advice of the Environmental Health Authorities to close the premises.
“Since reopening on July 4 Wetherspoon has implemented regular surface cleaning, has provided hand sanitisers and has implemented social distancing measures in all pubs.
“It is not possible to completely eliminate risk, but the combination of stringent hygiene measures and the self-isolation of staff helps to minimise it.”
The staff member was confirmed as being in direct contact with a case outside of their work.
No other workers are displaying any symptoms and are subject to a health assessment before each shift.
On Monday lunchtime just a handful of drinkers were inside, with no food being served due to the staff shortages.
In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said members of its environmental services visited the Wetherspoon pub in Gorleston at the weekend due to being advised of a confirmed case of Covid-19 among its staff.
It said: “The council officer confirmed that Covid-secure measures were in place, in line with Government guidance, and the correct procedures had been followed, including with respect to thorough cleansing and the staff member self-isolating.
“Based on the procedures in place and this being a single confirmed case, we are comfortable with that premises continuing trading.
“We will liaise with Norfolk County Council and Public Health England, which have the powers to consider closing a premises in the event of an ‘outbreak’, which is defined as two or more confirmed cases.”
Mr Gershon said customers test and trace details had not yet been requested.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said people would only be contacted if they were deemed to be at risk and that anyone who was worried should only arrange a test if they displayed symptoms.
However, people on social media expressed concern about whether they were at risk.
One man said his 62-year-old mother-in-law who suffers with a chronic lung disease was extremely worried about the prospect of catching the virus and had arranged for a test in Lowestoft.
She now faced an anxious wait for results having self-isolated for months and having her shopping delivered.
“Originally people thought it was someone causing trouble and spreading fake news,” he said.
“But when we realised it was true it was worrying.”
Mr Gershon moved to refute claims the pub was asking staff to “lie” to customers about the issue.
He said: “No one is being asked to lie.
“Wetherspoon is a well run company and would not engage in such actions.”
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