A Manchester Balti house has become the second premises in the city centre – and the first restaurant – to be closed under new powers for breaching coronavirus regulations.
Manchester City Council has served a direction on Akbar Balti Restaurant on Liverpool Road ordering it to close until further notice with effect from 5pm today (Friday 14 August 2020.)
The enforcement action comes after the restaurant had failed to implement social distancing controls, both inside and outside the premises.
Tables seating groups of up to 24 people were witnessed by Council enforcement staff and were not adequately spaced. The premises was overcrowded and unmanaged queues, so long that it took up to an hour and a half to get to the front, mingled with no social distancing.
The restaurant had been warned to get its house in order after visits earlier this week but failed to do so.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods for Manchester City Council, said: “The scenes at this place were just completely unacceptable and we have taken action in the interests of public health.
“Let me be clear. We want to support venues to help them get through this difficult time and prosper. But a lax attitude to public health is in nobody’s interests, especially when we need to stay focused to avoid the risk of further restrictions.
“This shows that we will take action against premises which don’t meet their responsibilities.”
David Regan, Director of Public Health for Manchester, said: “We all know that we need to stop the spread of Covid-19 and get the number of cases going back down again. Not for nothing have extra restrictions been implemented in Greater Manchester.
“Gatherings between different households are a particular concern and are increasing transmission. As well as individuals taking responsibility, licensed premises have a duty of care to their customers. We all have to play our part.”
Superintendent Chris Hill said: “It is extremely important that licensed premises adhere to Government regulations in order to protect our communities, particularly given the current situation in Greater Manchester.
“As this second closure in the city centre demonstrates, we will not hesitate to take action against businesses flouting the rules and will use our powers and legislation to their full to ensure premises operate safely.
“I hope this serves as a warning to other restaurants, pubs and bars that there will be more enforcement to come if they do not comply with the regulations.”
The closure will be reviewed by the Council once every seven days.