Diner reports Gunton Arms claiming 'Covid rules were broken'

Chef, general manager and owner standing outside country inn

Stuart and Simone Tattersall with owner Ivor Braka, at the Gunton Arms. - Credit: Archant

A diner reported a Norfolk pub and restaurant to the police because she was worried Covid guidelines had been breached.

Louise Richardson went out for dinner on Saturday, December 5, at the Gunton Arms, in Thorpe Market,  near Cromer. 

Miss Richardson, who lost her grandfather to coronavirus, said she and her friend, in her support bubble, were seated at a table close to six people.

She said the diners, including the Gunton Arms' general manager Simone Tattersall and her husband, the chef Stuart Tattersall, were with two other couples and heard them singing Happy Birthday.

Miss Richardson complained the party was too close to her and said she did not think three households should be mixing. Mrs Tattersall told her they were holding a "business meeting in the interest of the Gunton Arms, following the rules and taking the pandemic extremely seriously".

Country inn in parkland

The Gunton Arms, Thorpe Market, near Cromer. - Credit: Archant

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The government rules are unclear over whether restrictions apply in Tier Two to business meetings indoors. However, the Gunton Arms has on its own website that it is only taking bookings from "single households or support bubbles of up to six people".

Miss Richardson and her friend left early. 

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Mrs Tattersall emailed Miss Richardson and stated: "We were dining with others directly related to our business.

"We are following the rules and taking the pandemic extremely seriously as it directly affects our livelihoods.

"The staff you saw not wearing facemasks were exempt and were carrying lanyards containing that information. 

"Your table was more than two metres away complying with government recommendations."

picture of country inn with deer

Gunton Arms, Thorpe Market, near Cromer - Credit: Archant

Miss Richardson reported the matter to Norfolk police who confirmed a complaint had been made and passed to North Norfolk District Council for further investigation.

A spokeswoman from North Norfolk District Council said: "The premises were visited on Friday, December 11, 2020 by our public protection team, commercial team and the police and no major issues were reported.

"Guidance on complying with Covid regulations was provided to the management and it was concluded that no further action needs to be taken at present.

"We investigate any concerns relating to Covid safety measures or the breaching of regulations."

The Gunton Arms refused to comment.

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