An Aberystwyth bar has been issued a £1,000 Fixed Penalty Notice and served a Premises Closure Notice after an underground drinking den was discovered on the night of the France v Wales Six Nations rugby match.
Officers from Ceredigion’s Public Protection Team were carrying out routine patrols in the county when they discovered a makeshift room set up in the cellar of Bar 46 on the evening of 20th March 2021. The cellar was being used by some of the bar’s workers and their friends.
Officers entered the cellar using their powers under the Coronavirus restrictions regulations and found the group sitting around a table littered with drinks glasses, smoking and watching the post-match commentary on a television installed in the room. The cellar room had been fitted out with bench seating, a sofa, a table and bar stools.
As a result, the main bar area and the cellar have been issued with a Premises Closure Notice, and will remain closed for 28 days, or until it can be demonstrated that they have made improvements and meet the requirements of the Coronavirus regulations.
Pubs and bars are required to remain closed during Alert Level 4 and not carry on business at their premises. Food may be sold for consumption off the premises, such as takeaways and deliveries, but not for consumption on the premises.
The restrictions also prevent individuals from different households gathering indoors unless a relevant exemption applies, and then only to the extent that it was reasonably necessary to gather with others. Gathering in a bar is not considered reasonably necessary under the current restrictions, nor in the context of the sacrifices that the majority of Ceredigion residents are making on a daily basis.
Monitoring inspections have shown that the majority of Ceredigion‘s hospitality businesses are complying with the restrictions placed on them during the pandemic. Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection team will continue to take action against businesses who fail to comply with the Coronavirus restrictions. Whilst providing advice and guidance to businesses to ensure compliance is the preferred method, where serious or flagrant breaches such as this are discovered, appropriate enforcement action will be taken.
Police officers from Dyfed-Powys Police also attended the premises on the evening, and helped identify the individuals present. Inspector Gareth Earp from Dyfed-Powys Police said, “Police were called to the establishment following the discovery by the Public Protection Officers. We fully support the Local Authority on this matter. This kind of irresponsible disregard for coronavirus laws creates a great risk of transmission to those involved and the wider public they later have contact with.”
Bar 46’s Premises Closure Notice came into force on 25 March 2021 at 13:40. The notice can be seen on the Coronavirus web page, under Improvement and Closure Notices: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Ceredigion County Council.