A PUB landlord feels his business is being made a “scapegoat” after a positive case of Covid-19 in Builth Wells last week sparked social media outrage.

Rory Owen, owner of the town's White Horse pub, decided to close the pub for two days last week after being informed a person who had tested positive for coronavirus had visited the premises on the previous Saturday, September 5.

This led to a raft of accusatory posts on Facebook and other social platforms, criticising both the reveller who contracted the virus and the pub.

Despite satisfying all criteria from relevant authorities, as well as every other pub-goer and member of staff from September 5 clearing coronavirus testing in the wake of the positive case, Mr Owen fears for the future of his business after he closed the White Horse early this past Saturday night because it was empty.

“It feels like we’re being made a scapegoat and we’ve now got a black mark against us,” said Mr Owen, 28.

“One person had the virus and he informed me the following week, but no-one else did who visited that weekend and he’d been to other venues too so he didn’t catch it here.

County Times:

Inside the pub's 200-capacity outdoor tent

“We’ve spent thousands of pounds on safety measures to make the premises Covid-safe since reopening and the health and safety measures must be working because there hasn’t been a mass outbreak.

“But from the reaction it’s caused you’d think we’ve been serving the virus up in pint glasses to people. Would there have been as much outrage if we were a petrol station or a supermarket?"

After closing last Wednesday and Thursday in order to sanitise the premises properly, the White Horse reopened on Friday, but on Saturday night Mr Owen took the decision to close the pub at 8pm after seeing customer numbers plummet.

Since pubs and restaurants were given the green light to reopen with restrictions in place several months ago, the White Horse has been thriving and has been full to its 200-person capacity on Saturday nights, utilising the vast space offered by its car park – with picnic benches stationed under a big canopy usually put up for Royal Welsh Show week in July.

“All the relevant authorities – police, trading standards, environmental health, licensing – have visited us on numerous occasions since we re-opened and have praised us for how we’ve handled everything,” added Mr Owen.

“They’ve all said we’ve done nothing wrong and they’re satisfied with everything that’s been put in place.

“There’ll be a knock-on effect now as I’ll be reducing staff hours and therefore wages and I haven’t placed a beer order this week so that affects suppliers.

“At least we’re safe in the knowledge that we’ve done everything we could but it’s a knock and I’m not sure how we’re going to recover. I won’t give up though and I won’t be looking to close.”