A second Brighton pub has been told its garden is not ‘covid secure’ by the council.
The Dover Castle on Southover Street was planning on reopening today at 4pm, and had spruced up its courtyard garden to welcome customers.
But with just a couple of hours to go, the pub posted on Facebook that the advice from Brighton and Hove City Council meant it could not reopen.
However, the council insisted that although its been visiting pubs to give advice, it had not told any with outdoor seating areas they could not reopen.
The Dover Castle’s Facebook page said: “It is with a heavy heart, we have to tell all in the community that we’ve been instructed by the council our outdoor area is not covid secure, and therefore we cannot open until May 17.
“We are so upset and disappointed, the whole team have been busy making the pub sparkle for you in this long awaited return.
“We will share more news on the next reopening nearer the time.”
The pub’s small courtyard garden has a longstanding roofed shelter covering about a third of the garden, and a large umbrella can also be put up if required.
Bartender Anna said: “The explicit point from the council was that we cannot use the covered part of our garden, nor the rest of the tables outside when we have the large umbrella cover over the whole garden, so therefore it is not worth it for us.
“It is frustrating and we are currently trying to work with them to see if there’s any amendments we can do to make this work for all parties but we are just disappointed right now.”
She pointed out that many Brighton pubs have similar courtyard gardens surrounded by high walls.
A council spokesperson said: “We’re very keen for our hospitality businesses to be able to open up safely. We sent them guidance a few weeks ago about what is permitted under the latest national legislation, and we sent it again last week.
“The guidance includes various pictures and diagrams. We believe it is easy to understand.
“Our staff are in the process of visiting every pub that is reopening.
“Our role is to make sure venues comply with national legislation. We don’t have any local discretion.
“The rules for venues have changed since the previous opening late last year.
“In the case of the Dover Castle, their outdoor structure was ok for last year’s opening when indoor hospitality was available.
“However, they will have to adapt the structure in order for it to comply with the latest national guidance.
“We are now working with the pub to find a solution, and we very much hope they will be able to reopen as soon as possible.”
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