A Manchester nightspot that flouted Covid-19 guidelines by operating as a nightclub has been stripped of its licence.
In July Manchester City Council officers, working for the Licensing and Out of Hours Team, were made aware that Covid-secure measures were being ignored at Mahiki, in Central Street.
In a meeting before it re-opened, and at a subsequent one the Council was given assurances that one-way systems for customers, low music volume and a ban on dancing would be enforced. However, it became apparent that the owner had no intention of enforcing any of these precautions.
The bar’s owner, Adam Karim, was warned that if practices did not improve he would face further action. However, following a visit on the weekend of July 11 it was discovered that Mahiki was operating as a nightclub, with no efforts being made to ensure social distancing or take customer details for tracing. As a result of this a prohibition notice, which prohibited the premises operating as a nightclub, was served.
Following this, in early August, officers from the Licensing and Out of Hours Team witnessed a breach of this notice, with Mahiki again operating as a nightclub.
This was not the first time that Mahiki had found itself on the Council’s radar due to a number of significant licence premises breaches under investigation pre lockdown.
Since the hospitality sector was allowed to reopen on July 4 a great deal of effort has been made by both the industry and the Council to ensure that the public and staff are protected from future Covid outbreaks. Steps have been taken to engage and support premises owners with the changes that are now in effect. However, in spite of repeated efforts the owner of Mahiki refused to engage in any meaningful way with officers.
At a Licensing sub committee hearing panel held on Tuesday September 1 Mahiki was stripped of its licence, prohibiting it from serving alcohol to the public.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, executive member for neighbourhoods for Manchester City Council, said: “On the whole the vast majority of city bars and premises have been playing their part in creating a safe environment for customers. Sadly, in the case of Mahiki it was clear its owner had zero interest in doing what was not only expected by us, but what was the morally correct thing to do.
“We do not like to bring the hammer down as we want to be a Council that works with venues to resolve issues amicably. However, in this case we had no choice. A summary licensing review is a tool we use in only the most serious of circumstances, and stripping a venue of its licence is not something we do with any pleasure.
“But, we have to make clear that the safety of Manchester residents is paramount and we will take any steps necessary to ensure that.”
Superintendent Chris Hill, of Greater Manchester Police, 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. The health and safety of our communities is our priority and unfortunately in this case, the business continued to flout the rules we had in place.
“We will not hesitate to take action against businesses putting the health and welfare of their customers and their own staff at risk, and we will use our powers and legislation to the full to ensure premises are operating safely.
“This should serve as a warning to other establishments that there will be more enforcement to come if they do not comply with the regulations.”