West Midlands Police have handed a £10,000 fine to a Solihull hotel manager after they blatantly breached life-saving Covid-19 regulations by hosting a funeral party with hundreds of attendees (scroll down for body-worn camera footage).
As well as the fine, the Castle Bromwich Hall Hotel in Solihull has been banned from holding events until January next year following the funeral gathering last Friday (25 Sept) which was attended by over 200 people.
West Midlands Police have confirmed that nine calls were made to the force on Friday night to report the large gathering and loud music at the hotel.
Officers attended and found more than 200 people in attendance who were all then dispersed at 9 pm.
Officers then spoke to staff at the hotel in a bid to contact the owner or event organiser.
According to West Midlands Police, last Friday’s gathering was the latest in several events at the Solihull hotel which breached legislation.
A spokesperson for the forces confirmed that the manager had been previously warned about these breaches, but events continued to be held with no measures in place for track and trace, social distancing or table service.
On Monday, West Midlands Police applied for an immediate licencing review with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council asking for an immediate suspension of the hotel owner’s personal licence pending a full review.
The licensing panel granted this, and a full hearing is due to take place later this month.
The fine comes after West Midlands Police stepped up their efforts to enforce Covid-19 regulations in a bid to help control the spread of the virus.
With four of their towns and cities in the West Midlands − Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell and Wolverhampton – already under enhanced measures, West Midlands Police has said that they will continue to focus on those areas with the highest infection rate and the lowest compliance.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Claire Bell, who is leading the force’s response to Coronavirus, said:
“We are living in difficult times, and we understand people want to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed however we must all play our part to follow the rules which are in place to help stop the spread of the virus and to keep everybody safe.
“We engaged with all those at the funeral gathering and explained why they needed to leave, which they duly did.
“It is the hotel manager who has been penalised for repeatedly organising events that breach the Covid-19 legislation; his actions have blatantly disregarded measures to keep people safe in a pandemic.
“Businesses have a responsibility not only to their customers and their staff but to the wider community and there must be consequences when COVID-19 guidance is simply ignored.”
T/ACC Bell continued: “Our officers continue to patrol transport hubs, retail outlets, education establishments, hospitality venues and open spaces to remind people of the measures in place and issue fines to those breaching them.
“We are taking a tougher stance on those breaching the restrictions. These regulations are law, and we will continue to issue fines to those found flouting them.
“We understand that some of the regulations are confusing and we will be explaining where we find breaches, but if people continually flout these measures, we will not hesitate to take action.”
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