Bar hit with closure warning as ‘raucous scenes’ show punters ignoring coronavirus rules
A bar has been slapped with a closure warning after footage showed revellers ignoring coronavirus rules which the council branded a “serious and immediate threat to public health”.
Newcastle City Council said it was sent a number of worrying videos of “apparent raucous scenes” from Perdu bar after a “SkullKandi” event on Friday, September 25.
The footage showed “many customers in close proximity, with tables and chairs that are too close together, little social distancing, people being allowed to stand while drinking and shouting, and free movement around the premises,” reports ChronicleLive.
As of September 24, bars and restaurants have had to operate as table service only, and people were told to wear masks when they move around venues, with groups of no more than six at a time eating or drinking together.
The notice orders the venue to follow coronavirus rules or face sanctions, which will be reviewed at least once a week.
But Perdu is appealing the notice, with operations director Shaun Jenkinson claiming council action had been taken “on the strength of an eight second video”.
He said it was an “isolated incident that was dealt with immediately by the Perdu team”.
A spokesman for Perdu added: “Further to our statement yesterday we confirm that we have only been shown one video which did not show the activities listed.
“The appeal process to rescind the notice has commenced and after three meetings on site with the council’s licensing department and the police they have both said they will support the rescinding and Perdu is ‘fully compliant’.
Council officers said the notice was based on evidence from a number of videos and the observations of the licensing staff and police on a different evening.
Cllr John-Paul Stephenson, cabinet member for environment and regulatory services, said the “vast majority of operators” in the city “have shown a good level of compliance with new measures”.
But Cllr Stephenson added: “Nevertheless, some premises are letting the side down and spoiling everything for those who are bending over backwards to make this work and avoid a harder lockdown.
“In the case of Perdu we appreciate there may have been issues with regards the business and its premises licence transferring to new ownership, but that has now been resolved, and we are working as a matter of urgency with the new licensee to ensure they are keeping people safe.
“However, if that compliance is not forthcoming then we will not hesitate to take further enforcement action, which could see the bar closed or fines issued.”
New, tougher rules which came into force on Wednesday [Sept 30] also mean that from now on bars will have to limit the volume of music to discourage shouting or singing, and “take all reasonable measures” to stop people singing and dancing in groups of more than six.
The SkullKandi event took place before the tougher rules, as well as new North East rules making it illegal to socialise with people outside your own household in indoor public places.
Perdu was sold to Innvest Leisure by The Vaulkhard Group last week.
Mr Jenkinson said all Perdu staff have been told to ensure all Covid-19 rules are followed including recording track keeping tables spaced out for social distancing; making sure customers sit down and don’t move between groups; and that those who break the rules are asked to leave.
He said: “We have worked extremely hard and invested heavily in making our premises Covid-safe going above and beyond the rules to maintain social distancing in the venues and introducing three tiers of track and trace.
“We have a QR code at the entrance, contact details are taken for the lead person for each table booking and all drinks are ordered via an App which requires people to enter their details before it can be downloaded.
“We also take the temperatures of staff and customers to do everything in our power to keep our premises and the people in it safe with our door supervisory staff on hand to remind customers to behave in a Covid-safe manner.
“We are happy to work with the council and with the police to maintain good levels of compliance with new Covid safety measures and we are confident that we will continue to do so.”
The council said the Perdu notice was “just part” of the enforcement work it was carrying out with Northumbria Police in the wake of the new “local lockdown” restrictions.
Chief Inspector Steve Wykes, of Northumbria Police, said: “We will continue to support our local authority partners around their engagement and enforcement activity with businesses.
“We all have a responsibility to reduce the spread of the virus in our region and we will continue to engage with the public about the restrictions however, we along with our partners, are committed to taking appropriate action where necessary to protect our communities.”
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