Keep up the good work!
That was the message to those running pubs, clubs, restaurants and takeaways after a series of visits by Middlesbrough Council's Public Protection Service.
The teams were out and about across the town last Friday and Saturday evenings (October 9 & 10) to ensure businesses were complying with the latest Covid-19 guidelines and 10pm curfew.
Officers reported good levels of compliance, and Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston today thanked pub and club bosses for playing their part in the fight against coronavirus.
But Council chiefs have also issued a stark warning to those tempted to bend or break the rules and put public health at risk that they face possible fines, prosecution and the loss of their licence.
One social club was hit with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice after officers witnessed a large number of people drinking and socialising inside the venue after 10pm.
Fines for premises that are required to close by 10pm start at £1,000 for the first offence but can increase up to £10,000 for subsequent breaches. Fixed Penalty Notices are issued as an alternative to prosecution but failure to pay a fine within 28 days would lead to further legal action.
In addition to the closure breach, a further three businesses received warnings for failing to comply with other Covid-19 restrictions, including failing to ensure that customers were seated when ordering or consuming food/drink in a premises where alcohol was served and failing to ensure adequate social distancing between tables.
Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council's Head of Public Protection, said: "The operators of public houses, bars, takeaways, cafes and restaurants are required to close and have no customers inside their premises between 10pm and 5am.
"It is of great concern that, despite the generally high level of compliance with the Covid-19 laws, there was a need to take enforcement action against a social club and to issue warnings to a small number of other businesses.
"It is essential that all businesses in Middlesbrough abide by the Covid-19 restrictions and keep their staff and customers safe.
"Working in partnership with police and other agencies, we will continue to visit businesses in Middlesbrough to monitor compliance with the Covid-19 laws and provide advice, information and support."
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: "Our night-time economy is a major driver for the town's well-being and prosperity, and I'm really pleased that the vast majority of businesses have responded quickly and responsibly to the latest restrictions.
"These are difficult and challenging times for us all, and they've done amazing work to keep their customers safe, keep their businesses afloat and play their part in beating this dreadful pandemic.
"But it's also disappointing that some simply can't be bothered - they're on notice that if they don't toe the line, they'll be fined at best, and at worst they'll be closed down."