Restaurant fined for refusing to close in third lockdown
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A Bungay restaurant has been fined £1,000 for refusing to close during the third national lockdown.
Suffolk Police officers visited the Spice of Balti restaurant in Bungay following concerns raised by members of the public, and found customers sitting around a table eating takeaway food, while others were sat at the bar drinking.
Restaurant owner Shams Uddin was served with a fixed penalty notice of £1,000 following the breach, with all businesses required to reduce interaction to help slow the spread of Covid-19, with restaurants only allowed to remain open if they are takeaway or delivery only.
Mr Uddin claimed the restaurant had only been offering a takeaway service and said he planned to challenge the fine.
“Two customers were waiting outside but then one came inside to pick up food. No-one was eating inside and no one was sitting inside,” he said.
“They said they were given us a warning but then they issued a fine. But I am going to challenge it and have contacted my solicitor.”
Mary Rudd, East Suffolk Council's cabinet member for community health, urged all businesses in the district to follow the government's rules to keep people safe and avoid risking the safety of staff and customers.
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She said: "We understand that businesses want to remain fully open.
"However, the restrictions are in place for a reason and with the challenges of the new variants which are currently in circulation and spreading rapidly, it has never been more important that we all follow the rules to help defeat this virus.
"The restrictions clearly show which businesses must close and financial support is available for those affected.
"These are difficult times for everyone, but we must continue to stick to the rules to help keep people safe."
Inspector Claire Simons, from the Lowestoft Neighbourhood Partnership team, said: "This was a good example of partnership working between the constabulary and East Suffolk Council.
"The venue in question was operating in such a way as to cause the risk of the spread of a deadly disease to their customers and potentially others in the wider community.
"Suffolk Police are addressing the wider issues with the licence holder who has afreed to alter the conditions on his premises licence to enable the business to be compliant moving forward."
Business grants are available to businesses which have been required to close from January 5, with details and an application form available at: www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/business/covid-19-business-grant-funding.