Burnham Market restaurant reported to West Norfolk Council as scotch egg row breaks out
West Norfolk Council has defended the role of its Covid marshals after a restaurateur criticised their actions on his premises last week.
Tim Roberts, owner of No. Twenty9 Bar and Restaurant in Burnham Market, told Radio Norfolk that the marshals had questioned why he was serving scotch eggs as a substantial meal.
He questioned their "experience and people skills" as they dealt with the situation, with Mr Roberts believing he was following the government guidance.
A spokeswoman for West Norfolk Council said the authority had received complaints about the way No. Twenty9 was operating.
The council wrote to the business on December 3 asking them to stop the activity and arranged a marshal visit. They investigated whether Mr Roberts was serving a 'substantial meal' with drinks under the Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions guidance.
Mr Roberts was initially visited by one marshal, but two of them subsequently arrived later in the day on Friday, which the businessman said could have been intimidating for customers as they allegedly "barged in" and were "forceful and aggressive".
A council statement said: "These are tough times for everyone. Throughout this pandemic, our core effort has been to keep the public safe while supporting the local economy.
"This requires a careful balance of giving information and advice, providing encouragement and education where necessary and lastly, using appropriate enforcement where the breach is severe or the situation has not been remedied, despite requests to work within the government guidance.
"Our marshals and local authority liaison officers have received relevant training and have visited some 250 premises including shops, restaurants and schools. Their presence has been welcomed and valued. They not only provide advice and guidance but are also our eyes and ears on the ground.
"When we receive complaints from the public or other premises owners, the marshals will follow up on the complaint to report back the facts to our Environmental Health Officers or the police."
Mr Roberts told Radio Norfolk he was serving scotch eggs with a side salad or chips with anyone who wanted to come in for a drink after cabinet minister Michael Gove had said it was a substantial meal live on television.
But the council statement added: "It is right that additional focus is placed on the small number of businesses who are not doing the right thing, as they are not only potentially risking public safety, but also undermining the substantial efforts and investment made by other businesses who are working within the guidelines.
"We would hope that the public would support and indeed expect us to take such actions to help protect their safety, and protect West Norfolk."