Kay Burley: Sky News presenter off air for six months after Covid breach

Kay Burley: Sky News presenter off air for six months after Covid breach

Sky News presenter Kay Burley is to stay off-air for six months after admitting breaking Covid rules during a night out for her 60th birthday.

Political editor Beth Rigby and north of England correspondent Inzamam Rashid, who were among those with her, will be absent for three months.

“I made a big mistake, and I am sorry,” Burley wrote on Twitter.

Burley was among 10 people who went to a restaurant on Saturday before she briefly went into another restaurant.

She then moved on to a private residence where individuals from at least three households mixed, the BBC has been told.

“I have today agreed with Sky News to step back from my broadcasting role for a period of reflection,” Burley wrote.

“It’s clear to me that we are all in the fight against Covid-19 and that we all have a duty to stick firmly by the rules.

“It doesn’t matter that I thought I was Covid-compliant on a recent social event. The fact is I was wrong, I made a big mistake, and I am sorry.

“Some dear friends and colleagues – some of the most talented and committed professionals in our business – have been pulled into this episode and I regret this enormously.

“I was one of the founding presenters on Sky News. No one is prouder of our channel’s reputation, the professionals on our team, and the impact we make.

“I very much look forward to being able to continue my 32-year career with Sky when I return.”

The channel said it had completed an “internal review into the conduct of a small number of team members who attended a social event” on Saturday.

“Over the course of the evening, Covid guidelines were breached,” a statement said. “Sky News expects all team members to fully comply with the COVID restrictions. All those involved regret the incident and have apologised.

“Following our review of what took place on 5th December, we have agreed with Beth Rigby (Political Editor) and Inzamam Rashid (News Correspondent) that they will not be on air for three months, and we have agreed with Kay Burley (Breakfast Show Presenter) that she will not be on air for six months.”

The channel did not say whether they would still be paid while off air.

Burley, who joined Sky News in 1988 and has hosted the breakfast show since October 2019, first offered an apology on Monday, saying she had been “at a Covid-compliant restaurant” but “inadvertently broke the rules” by popping to the toilet in the second restaurant.

London is under tier two restrictions, which means people are not allowed to socialise with anyone from outside their household or support bubble indoors, either in a private home or a public place.

Some venues have outdoor seating and you are able to meet in a group of up to six people outside, including in a garden or in a public place.

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