Staff at pubs a butchers and post office have tested positive for coronavirus in a Ceredigion town hit by a surge in cases.

A Chinese takeaway, restaurants, car dealership and some shops have also closed their doors suddenly in Cardigan after staff have either tested positive or came into contact who have contracted Covid-19.

The town is reeling from the shock it is at the centre of a local outbreak with one business forced to close and bin £10,000-worth of meat.

Ceredigion Council leader Ellen ap Gwynn has taken swift action to close schools in the affected area in an effort to stop the spread of infection as quickly as possible, which is believed to have come from a single "super spreader" event.

Cardigan Town Mayor, Clive Davies, echoed Ms ap Gwynn and questioned whether people had got complacent saying: "The pattern seems to be rooted to household mixing and a super spreader event in the area

"We are only at the beginning of the incident here, no doubt cases will continue to be reported as the week pans out and test results are returned.

"I just hope the non-compliant element community realise the serious nature of the situation, with Ceredigion having done so well over the course so far of this pandemic, we now just need to pull together, follow the rules we all know and self isolate if necessary.

"Some businesses have closed voluntarily which I am also thankful for and also the rapid response by the local authority as soon as they noticed the numbers increasing in the indexed TTP records."

The outbreak has been linked to parties and pub crawls in the Cardigan area

While some businesses in the area have closed voluntarily, in order to limit the chances of the virus spreading, several pubs have closed after staff tested positive or had been told they had come in contact with an infected person.

Nicola Jones, who runs the Seven Stars Pub in Llechryd alongside Anthony Jones, tested positive for the virus over the weekend and the pub has now closed.

A post on their Facebook page said: "We received our test results earlier this morning, I tested negative, but Nicola Jones tested positive.

"We now have to isolate for 10 days so we will not be opening the pub until Tuesday, December 1. We have been advised that someone will be in touch for track and trace information."

The Red Lion Pub, in Cardigan town, also confirmed a staff member had tested positive and on Sunday said: "Following our decision to close the Red Lion to protect both the public and our staff from this pandemic, we asked staff to take a Covid test.

"This was two-fold to make sure our staff had not contracted the virus and to put in place our plans for the pub re-opening next week.

"Following a member of staff returning a positive result from their test Friday we will now remain closed in accordance with government guidelines until staff have completed their isolation period.

"While we have not had any instruction from the authorities we have taken these steps to protect both Cardigan residents and our staff."

Those who visited either The Bell or Red Lion on or after November 9 are asked to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of their visit, Ceredigion council said.

In Aberporth, the New Golden Dragon also announced that a member of staff had tested positive for Covid after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive.

The team posted on Facebook saying: "In light of this we will be closing the shop for two weeks after our last contact with the member of staff which was last Sunday, even though we last met the member of staff last Sunday the individual was not tested positive until yesterday.

"Not only will we be isolating during this period we will also be giving the shop a deep clean.

"We are still awaiting further clarity from the track and trace team on the best way to do this and what they expect for us with regards to this. We will strictly follow any guidance given to us by this team.

"It's really unfortunate for us but it is out of our hands, all other staff members have experienced no symptoms and we are all feeling fine fit and strong.

"The risk to you as the general public is quite low as we have followed government guidelines with regards to social distancing and also with the precautions that we have had in place since we reopened in May.

"We have been strict in cleaning and sanitising everyday before, during and after the shop is open."

Ceredigion Council said it had worked hard to reduce transmission as much as possible

Cardigan's post office has also closed after a staff member tested positive and post master Caroline Wilson said she was experiencing symptoms.

She said: "Absolutely gutted to be announcing this. We are temporarily closed. A member of staff has tested positive and I'm showing symptoms.

"In the meantime, I'm already climbing the walls and itching to get back to the job I love and help our lovely customers and friends.

"It's a scary time in Cardigan at the moment. Lets all do the right thing and stay safe. Most off all it's not a time for blame or finger pointing..be kind."

T Samways Butchers also took measures to close for two weeks after a positive case among the team. Tom Samways said: "I can confirm we are shut for two weeks. A member of staff has tested positive and as a boss I know it’s the best thing to do.

"Covid is hitting Cardigan hard and we’ve been very lucky so far but we need to do what’s right. Today we binned £10,000 worth of stock and we're still adding up the loses.

"There’s not a doubt in my my mind we’re doing the right thing but can only apologise to people who are affected.

"My staff's safety is paramount and after two weeks we will open again bigger and better. For now though please support your local butcher and stay safe. There’s a pandemic going on and we all need to do out bit."

Other businesses who have taken the decision to close their doors include The Rampin, a pub in Cilgerran, which said it was closing "out of choice to keep everyone safe".

The team said: "As a duty of care to our customers we are very sad to say that we are closing for a week. We have been informed that someone who was here eight days ago has tested positive for Covid-19.

"Following advice given we now have to close as a precautionary measure and a deep clean has started to ensure the safety of our customers when we re-open."

Branney's Priory Restaurant said it had close "with a heavy heart" to allow staff to isolate and their loyal customers to stay safe .

Car dealer BV Rees Ltd, on the outskirts of Cardigan, said a "non-customer facing member of staff" had received a positive Covid test and regrettably, it had decided to close the Abbey Garage for a period of time for "the complete safety of our valued customers and staff".

Similarly, LDFurniture store announced it was closing this week and plans to re-open on Monday, November 30 as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, another retailer, Brwsh, said one of its staff had come into contact with an individual who has since tested positive for Covid.

They said: "We feel it is only right and responsible that we close Brwsh until a full deep clean is carried out and the all clear is given to all staff.

"Many thanks to everyone for their continued support, and we look forward to seeing everyone again very soon. Stay safe."

Town councillor Morvenna Richards said the rise in cases was "worrying".

She added: "As for Ceredigion, it is sad to see that after all the hard work our community has done to keep safe. And our infection rates, one of the lowest in the country, we have suddenly found ourselves in this very frightening situation."

She said she had not heard about a so-called super spreader event, but added: "We were warned back in the summer that infection rates would rise as the winter months drew closer, which is what we are seeing everywhere now.

"The people of Ceredigion have been very sensible, we are a strong community here, putting our most vulnerable first."

Seven schools in the Cardigan area and six schools in north Pembrokeshire have shut as well as Coleg Ceredigion's Cardigan campus as a result of rising case numbers.

Ceredigion council said it has become "increasingly concerned" about the spread of the virus in the area while Ms ap Gwynn blamed "super-spreader events" such as "parties" and "pub crawls".

In the Cardigan and Aberporth area, 21 confirmed cases have been recorded between 14-20 November, giving the region an infection rate of 236.5 cases per 100,000 population.

Ms ap Gwynn told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast the council's own test and trace team had identified the source of community transmission.

"Apparently there were parties on both weekends and also people going around the pubs having pub crawls," she said.

"I think people after the last lockdown thought 'hooray, we can enjoy, we can relax now, and we are out of this more or less because there's a vaccine coming'. They are letting their guard down unfortunately."

Ms ap Gwynn said the council was "working closely" with Hywel Dda health board and Public Health Wales.

The number of cases is expected to rise in the coming days as Ceredigion Council officials say many people with coronavirus symptoms are awaiting their test results.

Elsewhere, Carmarthenshire has recorded 42 new cases today, Pembrokeshire, 15; Powys, 15 and Gwynedd, three.