Two town centre bars have become the first in Wigan Borough to be closed under new powers to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
Wigan Council has served a direction notice on Casino De Cuba and Havana Sports Lounge on Millgate in Wigan town centre which forces the premises to close, as of 4pm yesterday (Wednesday 19 August).
These are relatively new powers under Covid-19 regulations that came into force in the middle of July which allows councils to shut down businesses which flout regulations put in place to protect the public.
Working in partnership with Greater Manchester Police, the council’s licensing teams have served the notice due to a lack of compliance with social distancing, and concerns regarding the behaviour of customers within the premises.
Repeat visits have found large groups congregated together singing and dancing to extremely loud music emanating from the venue.
Coun Paul Prescott, cabinet member for planning and environmental services, said: “While the majority of businesses have generally responded well to the help and advice we have given, closures like this act as a reminder to those who don’t abide by the rules and regulations.
“It acts a strong reminder that the council will not hesitate to respond when there is evidence that shows businesses are not acting responsibly and within the guidelines that have been put in place to protect us all. Decisions like this are a last resort as we want all our businesses to be open so they can get back on a solid economic footing but we need to ensure we keep infection rates down and don’t undo all the good work of the past few months.”
Wigan along with the nine other Greater Manchester authorities has spent the last few weeks under some of the strictest lockdown restrictions in the country.
The closure will be reviewed within seven days, and a decision made as to whether or not to permit the two premises to re-open.
Chief Inspector Liz Sanderson, of GMP’s Wigan District, said: “It is vital that licensed premises adhere to Government regulations in order to protect our communities, particularly given the heightened restrictions across Greater Manchester.
“As the closure demonstrates, we will take action against businesses which are flouting the rules and will use our legislative powers to ensure premises operate safely.
“I hope this serves as a stark warning to other licensed premises that we will not hesitate to use enforcement if they are failing to comply with the regulations.”
Residents can report other businesses in breach by emailing [email protected]