Hotel manager who hosted 200-guest funeral party in marquee fined £10,000
A hotel manager who ignored the coronavirus rules to host a funeral party with more than 200 guests has been fined the maximum £10,000.
When police arrived at Castle Bromwich Hall Hotel in Solihull, West Midlands, they found mourners eating and dancing to loud music at the venue last Friday.
Footage shot by officers shows the party taking place inside a white marquee with mourners spilled out on to the hotel’s grounds.
West Midlands Police said they had received nine reports from locals about the illegal bash and broke it up at around 9pm.
The fine issued to the manager is the first maximum one slapped on a person by West Midlands Police since the new rules came into force.
Police said the venue had been given previous warnings about breaching Covid-19 legislation after it held a “number of events” with no measures in place for Track and Trace, social distancing or table service.
On Monday, police asked Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council to immediately suspend the hotel owner’s personal licence pending a full review which was granted by the licensing panel.
The full hearing to review the licence will take place later this month.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Claire Bell, who is leading the force’s response to the coronavirus pandemic said “we are living in difficult times”.
She added: “We understand people want to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed however we must all play our part to follow the rules which are in place to help stop the spread of the virus and to keep everybody safe.
“We engaged with all those at the funeral gathering and explained why they needed to leave which they duly did.
“It is the hotel manager who has been penalised for repeatedly organising events that breach the Covid-19 legislation; his actions have blatantly disregarded measures to keep people safe in a pandemic.
“Businesses have a responsibility not only to their customers and their staff but to the wider community and there must be consequences when COVID-19 guidance is simply ignored.”
T/ACC Bell continued: “Our officers continue to patrol transport hubs, retail outlets, education establishments, hospitality venues and open spaces to remind people of the measures in place, and issue fines to those breaching them.
“We are taking a tougher stance on those breaching the restrictions. These regulations are law and we will continue to issue fines to those found flouting them.
“We understand that some of the regulations are confusing and we will be explaining where we find breaches, but if people continually flout these measures, we will not hesitate to take action.”
West Midland Police said it will continue to focus on the four areas under enhanced measures – Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell and Wolverhampton.
Police are asking people who see others ignoring Covid-19 regulations to use an online breach report form, or call the force if they witness large illegal gatherings.
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