A Rochester pub has been ordered to permanently close its doors after it was found to be ignoring Covd-19 restrictions and holding illegal lock-ins.

Kent Police received reports that the Hop and Rye public house in Wainscott Road had been allowing people inside the pub to drink, which is not permitted under current Coronavirus legislation in Kent.

Licensing officers found six people drinking at the back of the pub during a visit on 28 November 2020 and requested that they leave. Following further enquiries, the pub was found to have held at least five lock-ins since 5 November.

A full premises licence hearing was held at Medway Council on 22 December where it was agreed by a licensing panel that the pub’s licence was to be revoked, meaning that the pub must permanently close.

Inspector Mat Burbeck of Medway’s Community Safety Unit said: ‘When these breaches occurred pubs were not permitted to sell alcohol or food on the premises due to Covid-19 but the owner and designated premises supervisor allowed this to happen which was a clear breach of the restrictions which were in place.

‘The regulations are there to protect not only individuals but also the wider community in helping to stop the spread of the virus and this includes prohibiting the mixing of multiple households and large gatherings.

‘As a result of ignoring this legislation the pub has now lost its licence and will not be able to open when the current national lockdown and tiered restrictions end.

‘I hope this outcome sends a clear and important message to other businesses who may be ignoring the current legislation.

‘We will continue to engage and educate residents and businesses and encourage them to adhere to the guidelines and will ultimately enforce the regulations if we need to.’

By Ed

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