Man behind zero hygiene sailing academy restaurant hits back over inspection rating – North Wales Live

A restauranteur at an award-winning sailing academy in Gwynedd has hit back after receiving a zero food hygiene rating saying a full inspection “was never carried out”.

Geoff Harvey, who is the tenant the Anglesey Arms in Caernarfon, took on the restaurant and bar area of Plas Heli in Pwllheli, shortly before the first lockdown in 2020.

Last month the Food Standards Agency deemed that the establishment needed “urgent improvement” when it came to hygienic food handling, cleanliness and conditions of the facilities and building and the management of food safety, following an inspection.

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But Mr Harvey, who holds a five-star rating at his Caernarfon establishment, now says a full inspection was never carried out at Plas Heli due to several staff members having tested positive for Covid.

Mr Harvey said: “I had no choice but to close because you can’t run a restaurant with one member of staff so a full inspection was never carried out.

“The food rating score of zero was given because the EHO were not able to complete the assessment due to the kitchen being closed at the time they arrived.

“The council had been advised that two members of our kitchen team had tested positive for Covid, and a few additional staff were self-isolating until proven clear.

Anglesey Arms and hanging tower Caernarfon. Picture by Huw Hughes
Anglesey Arms and hanging tower Caernarfon. Picture by Huw Hughes
(Image: Huw Hughes)

“We made a decision to close the kitchen and only provide bar service to protect both customers and staff.”

He said they have been working with Environmental Health who have been back out and have checked the facilities and deemed them fit for purpose, adding that they have a full food management system in place, and are clear to open.

“When we have made the appropriate payment the EHO will rescore the food rating.

“Our decision to terminate the contract is separate to the above situation.

The iconic lonely tree at Llyn Padarn, Llanberis, looking towards Snowdonia

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“Due to the Covid pandemic, we have encountered staffing challenges as have many other businesses in this sector, with the majority of our staff travelling in from Caernarfon and the surrounding villages.

“In addition with the needs of Plas Heli and the Sailing Club pulling in different directions has made the operation difficult to manage and not financially viable.”

The zero-rating is the lowest possible rating businesses can receive in Wales and indicates the standard of the premises at the time of inspection.

Plas Heli, Pwllheli
Plas Heli, Pwllheli

A spokesperson for Gwynedd Council said: “We can confirm following a recent inspection on 10/09/21 at Glan y Don Bar & Restaurant, Plas Heli, Pwllheli a ‘0’ rating was issued.

“Our environmental health staff continue to engage with the business to ensure that the necessary improvements are made.”

The council declined to comment further.

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