Video shows packed beer garden at pub at centre of Covid-19 outbreak
Hundreds of people have been tested for coronavirus after an outbreak at a Staffordshire pub where crowds had packed into a beer garden despite social distancing rules.
At least 10 people with links to the Crown & Anchor in Stone have tested positive for Covid-19 after the pub was "overwhelmed" with punters when lockdown restrictions were eased.
Health bosses at Staffordshire County Council say anyone who visited the pub on Station Road between July 16 and 18 should get tested as soon as possible.
Video footage of the pub beer garden, which has since closed, shows how customers were packed in against guidelines that say people should stay more than one metre apart.
WATCH the video here:
Ayrron Robinson filmed the video from his second-floor flat overlooking the pub and said people were standing so close together that you couldn't tell any different groups apart.
The 31-year-old said: "There were between 100 to 200 people there and no social distance outdoors.
"They certainly weren't a metre apart, put it that way, as there was another person sort of filling in the metre gap everywhere.
"It wasn't even a couple of groups around, it was everyone just in a big block of people.
"It's a case of if one person had the virus, then chances are pretty much every person that was in there has probably got it now, so they've all got to go and get tested and, I'll be honest, I don't think all of them will.
"I hope they will, but I could see some of them going to other pubs, so it’s a bad situation.
"I'm a self-employed sound engineer, so obviously at the moment, my line of work is gone as I work with theatres who are looking at making huge redundancies and this massively affects my career, so it is really disappointing to see people who have just been so brazenly not bothered."
Council bosses are keen to trace anyone who may have been drinking at the Crown & Anchor pub that weekend, along with anyone who may have been in close contact with any of the pub's customers or staff. They are also asking people who may have been drinking in Stone on that weekend and have experienced symptoms to get a test.
Hundreds of people turned out to be tested for the virus at a walk-in centre on Crown Street in Stone on Wednesday, with queues snaking around the car park as people waited to be swabbed.
But tests are now by appointment only with the unit open from 11am to 3pm on weekdays and from 10.30am to 3.30pm on Saturday and Sunday.
People can arrive on foot or by car. To book an appointment, visit gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
People who aren’t experiencing symptoms will need to choose the ‘I am in a lockdown area with a coronavirus outbreak’ option, even though there is no lockdown in Stone, council bosses say.
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Meanwhile the Crown & Anchor is still closed as the pub reviews its risk assessments after the "overwhelming amount of people" who visited the previous Saturday.
Staffordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health Dr Richard Harling said: “We have had a brilliant response to the walk-in testing, and I want to thank the community for coming forward to be tested. This testing will give us a much better picture of the extent of infection and help us to control the outbreak.
“By switching to a booking system, this should prevent some of the queues we have seen today and reduce waiting times for people wanting to get a test.
"So for anyone who hasn’t being tested today, we are encouraging them to go online and book an appointment to be tested. This could be at the testing centre that’s been set up in Stone, or one of the exiting sites at Bet 356 Stadium in Stoke or Beaconside in Stafford.
"Booking online is simple—you just go to the website, make your way through the stages, and choose the ‘I am in a ‘lockdown’ area’ option, although to be clear, there is no lockdown in Stone.
“We need as many people as possible to come and get tested—so please don’t delay in booking a test.
“We’re doing everything we can to prevent outbreaks and stop the virus from spreading. Residents can help by continuing to follow the rules to stop the spread of Covid-19—washing hands regularly, keeping your distance, and wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport.”
He added: “We are doing everything we can to prevent outbreaks and stop the virus from spreading. Residents can help by continuing to follow the rules to stop the spread of Covid-19 – washing hands regularly, keeping your distance, and wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport.”
The Crown & Anchor decided to close last weekend to review its risk assessments and a note on the door of the pub states it is still closed.
A post on the pub's Facebook page last week said: "Due to the overwhelming amount of people visiting the Crown and Anchor on Saturday [July 18], we have decided to close this weekend to be able to review our risk assessment in order to deal with the difficulty that we faced with social distancing.
"By saying that we are grateful and appreciative of all our customers and want to make it a safe environment for you when we reopen next weekend. We will be posting our updated guidelines."
It has not yet been announced when the Crown & Anchor will reopen. The Express and Star has contacted the pub for comment.