Fury as Wetherspoons stays open despite 12 staff catching coronavirus at party

Some 30 staff who work at a Liverpool city centre Wetherspoons pub are self-isolating after 12 workers caught coronavirus partying together.

The firm was forced to contact Public Health England over the large outbreak at the Lime Kiln, in Concert Square.

Pub bosses told the Liverpool ECHO they had received no reports of transmission between staff and customers and insisted a "rigorous implementation of hygiene standards" was in place at the venue, which remains open.

But locals demanded the venue be shut down for safety.

Writing on Facebook, Mary Parkinson said: "Surely it would be safer to close it down considering the number of staff involved and the fact that symptoms can take a while to show?"

Kelly Ball said: "That place has been heaving for weeks."

Simon Jones added: "Does anyone understand the more cases, the more chances of catching it. Therefore your NHS staff could get sick and when you're ill you might not have a bed to go to."

A spokesman said they believe a "private event" attended by some members of staff outside work may be linked to the cases.

The Lime Kiln was told of its first two cases among staff on September 16, leading to the affected employees and 20 others thought to have been in close contact with them being told to self-isolate.

A further 10 positive cases among staff were then identified on September 18 and 19, leading to more employees being told to self-isolate.

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A spokesman for JD Wetherspoon said Public Health England had been told of the initial cases, would be updated about the rest and that the pub firm would work with health bosses if any measures are recommended.

It comes as this alarming map showing the areas of England with the fastest-growing rates of coronavirus was released.

Top Government scientist Chris Whitty warned that Covid-19 is no longer confined to individual local outbreaks and that nationwide measures will be necessary.

NHS Test and Trace have contacted the Lime Kiln to request details of the staff who have tested positive and that information has been provided. It is hoped swift action will curb any spread.

The spokesman said: "A number of employees attended a private event outside of work, which, we believe, may be linked to the cases. At the pub, social distancing rules are in place, which minimises the risk of transmission.

"We appreciate that there may be some concerns from customers, but the company has not been informed of any cases of infections being transmitted from staff to customers at the pub."

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