A Grimsby pub’s licence has been suspended until June 14, 2021 after it breached COVID-19 rules four times, despite two warnings from police.
The Mariner’s Rest pub on Albert Street East was caught breaching lockdown guidance on February 13 this year by Humberside Police, which saw six people mixing indoors and on three other occasions.
North East Lincolnshire Council made its decision in its Licensing Sub-Committee on Friday.
When officers arrived during the February incident, they witnessed around 15 to 20 people fleeing from the premises.
A member of staff said he decided to go to the Mariners on Saturday, February 13 around 5.30pm to get the lines cleaned.
He was in the middle of doing this and decided to go to the garage for a drink and food when he bumped into some old friends.
The individual went back into the pub and at around 7:30pm, his friends from earlier knocked on the door.
He said: “There were six people at the door, I stupidly invited them in not thinking about the lockdown, we went into the bar but as the pub had been stripped, there was nothing for us to drink so we just chatted.”
When the police arrived at 10pm, he panicked and said Lee Collins, Operator and Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) allowed him to have friends in the pub, but later said: “This is not true.”
His keys were taken off him and he were issued a £200 fine and he no longer works for Mr Collins and is sorry for the trouble caused.
Lee Collins, Operator and DPS at the Mariner’s Rest, said: “COVID obviously made operating very challenging […] I tried to ensure that me and my staff were kept up to date and we did all we could to enforce regulations.”
Humberside Police also reported several people congregating outside the pub with the doors open past the 10pm closure curfew with no social distancing on October 31, 2020.
A member of staff at the door said they were struggling to remove two individuals from the premises who were refusing to leave.
Earlier in October, there was a complaint regarding a wake at the premises with a witness claiming large groups inside and outside were mingling with staff not wearing face coverings.
Mr Collins said people were spread across two spaces. He was then advised of the COVID guidance on wakes. No evidence of the incident was recorded due to a CCTV fault.
Police also visited the premises on September 18, 2020 as part of general compliance pub visit in the area. They heard “DJ-ing” noise and saw people dancing, which they were told by Mr Collins was a live singer performing. A warning was given after people were dancing around the pub to YMCA and Macarena in a non-COVID compliant way.
Chair of the meeting, Cllr David Hasthorpe said: “Committee has considered removing Mr Collins as DPS, but are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt as we did not wish to see a business which should be a community hub closed down, particularly in today’s economic climate.
“It should, however, be noted that should further breaches come before this committee, revocation would most certainly be a major consideration, and for removal of the DPS.”