Oadby venue defending 45-person party told to close

  • Published
Gurmakh Singh
Image caption,
Gurmakh Singh told the BBC - before the council issued the notice - that he believed the rules were "not that clear"

A restaurant found hosting a 45-person engagement party in a Covid hotspot has been shut down for breaking social distancing rules.

The owner of Saffron Banqueting Suite in Oadby, Leicestershire, had defended Saturday's gathering but the council ordered it to close on Wednesday.

The venue is in a borough currently in local lockdown after its infection rates tripled in a week.

Local authorities said they had to act to keep people safe.

Speaking to the BBC on Monday, Gurmakh Singh, the venue's owner, said he believed they had done nothing wrong in hosting the party.

He said: "The rules are not that clear. We were providing exactly the same service as any other restaurant or pub would at the moment."

He added guests sat at their own tables and were served there so they did not have to get up.

Image caption,
Saffron Banqueting Suite usually caters for events such as weddings, birthdays and corporate events

But the government confirmed groups of more than six were not allowed to gather for a "common purpose" even if the guests were arranged in socially distanced groups.

There are some exceptions but engagement parties are not included.

The council has not stated whether the closure will be temporary or permanent.

The Tipu Sultan, a restaurant on the same road as Saffron Banqueting Suite, was also shut down last week over social distancing concerns. It has been ordered to close for at least one month.

Image source, Oadby and Wigston Borough Council
Image caption,
When visited by the BBC at the start of the area's first local lockdown the Tipu Sultan said customer safety was "the most important thing"

On Tuesday further restrictions were introduced in the borough of Oadby and Wigston.

This was after its seven-day infection rate up to the week ending 12 September rose suddenly to the second highest in the country.

Figures released on Wednesday showed the number of new cases was falling but the infection rate was still 94.6 per 100,000 people.

A Leicestershire County Council spokesman said: "It's important we take action where we are aware of a serious and imminent threat to public health."

The council said the restaurants had the right to appeal against the notice.

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