THE MOWDEN pub has enjoyed a positive summer so far: business has thrived and staff are anticipating the easing of restrictions next week.

But landlords Simon and Rachel Leadbetter have bemoaned the loss of around £20,000 income after the Darlington pub was forced to close due to self-isolating staff after a positive Covid test.

Despite overhauling how they work and following robust health and safety measures the business hit the brakes earlier this month.

Simon recalled the "devastating" decision to close and revealed they were "totally gutted" not to serve regular customers for 10 days.

"We all had to self-isolate and had no choice but to shut the business down," Simon said.

The Northern Echo:

Current Government regulations mean it only takes one positive Covid case on site for all staff to self-isolate. Without staff, businesses can't open.

Simon added: "We're living on tenterhooks. The day we came back it could have happened again at the snap of a finger.

"We're quite a tight team and we're closed two days a week now because of staffing levels due to Covid.

"It's quite worrying that if one of the core members of the team does test positive the whole thing is going to repeat itself.

READ MORE: Cautious approach to to ending England lockdown on July 19

The Government says self-isolating is still important to stop the spread of coronavirus.

And despite the further lifting of restrictions on Monday, Simon called on the Government to reconsider the rules on isolation.

"I don't know why they're not changing the rules next week," he added. "It's going to create chaos for so many businesses.

"We've been buzzing about everything reopening but the potential closure is like a dark cloud hanging over your head all the time. At any point we could have to close again."

The Northern Echo:

Instead of a full closure, staff at the Britannia Inn conducted a deep clean of the premises after a staff member tested positive earlier this month.

Health authorities told staff it would not be necessary to close the premises.

A statement posted on its Facebook page read: "Following a member of our staff informing us yesterday that they had tested positive for Covid-19 using a lateral flow test we are closing the pub today (Thursday) to conduct a deep clean of the premises. The member of staff is self-isolating.

"Although we have been advised by both Darlington Council Environmental Health and Public Health England that it is not necessary for us to close the pub, we have decided that in the interests of the health and safety of our staff and customers a deep clean is the best course of action."

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