THE Masons Arms, in Gargrave, has reopened after its landlord had his premises licence suspended for two months for Covid breaches.

John Baker said he reopened his pub as soon as the suspension came to an end recently and was busy with a full food service and serving drinks while observing all social distancing rules.

He said: "It is very good to be open again and look forward to all the Covid restrictions being lifted on the 19th. I was very pleased to hear the announcement last week.

"I'm glad to be back to as 'normal' as we can be with the restrictions. We can only cover 54 seats out of a total of 80 and have had to have 50 per cent extra staff to serve customers at the tables, as well as those seated outside. It is difficult for people in this industry to make a living with these restrictions in place."

Mr Baker, who has been in charge of the Masons Arms for 10 years, lost his licence temporarily in April following a review by Craven District Council's licensing and appeals sub committee.

The review, brought to the table by North Yorkshire police, focused on two incidents that took place at the premises. The first was on November 4, 2020, when a party consisting of around 30 people was held at the premises with no masks being worn by customers or staff and a lack of social distancing which was in breach of Covid-19 regulations.

There was a further incident on December 23, in which the Premises Licence Holder was `sitting and chatting at a customer’s table’, and two customers were drinking alcohol without a substantial meal. There was a lack of mask wearing by customers in/around the premises, staff were also not wearing masks whilst serving food, and customers were attending at the bar at a time when it should have been table service only.

As well as the temporary suspension he was removed as Designated Premises Supervisor (PS) and was issued with a written warning, relating to an incident on November 4, to remain on file for 12 months.

He had already settled £3,000 in fines which he had been served.

Mr Baker admitted making mistakes on these occasions and apologised to the committee.