A SOCIAL club has been hit with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice after people were spotted drinking and socialising in the venue after 10pm.

Middlesbrough Council revealed it had issued the notice while warning other businesses to make sure they comply with the covid guidelines.

The authority’s public protection service was out in the town last Friday and Saturday to ensure businesses were complying with the latest Covid-19 guidelines and 10pm curfew.

Officers reported “good” levels of compliance.

However, one club was reported to have been hit with the £1,000 fixed penalty notice after a “large number” of people were spotted socialising in the venue.

Fines for premises that are required to close by 10pm start at £1,000 for the first offence but can increase up to £10,000 for subsequent breaches. 

Fixed Penalty Notices are issued as an alternative to prosecution but failure to pay a fine within 28 days would lead to further legal action.

In addition to the closure breach, a further three businesses received warnings for failing to comply with other Covid-19 restrictions, including failing to ensure that customers were seated when ordering or consuming food/drink in a premises where alcohol was served and failing to ensure adequate social distancing between tables.

Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council's head of public protection, said: "The operators of public houses, bars, takeaways, cafes and restaurants are required to close and have no customers inside their premises between 10pm and 5am.

"It is of great concern that, despite the generally high level of compliance with the Covid-19 laws, there was a need to take enforcement action against a social club and to issue warnings to a small number of other businesses.  

"It is essential that all businesses in Middlesbrough abide by the Covid-19 restrictions and keep their staff and customers safe.

"Working in partnership with police and other agencies, we will continue to visit businesses in Middlesbrough to monitor compliance with the Covid-19 laws and provide advice, information and support."

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: "Our night-time economy is a major driver for the town's well-being and prosperity, and I'm really pleased that the vast majority of businesses have responded quickly and responsibly to the latest restrictions.

"These are difficult and challenging times for us all, and they've done amazing work to keep their customers safe, keep their businesses afloat and play their part in beating this dreadful pandemic.

"But it's also disappointing that some simply can't be bothered - they're on notice that if they don't toe the line, they'll be fined at best, and at worst they'll be closed down."

  • Anyone who has concerns about the way any business or organisation in Middlesbrough is operating with regard to Covid-19 can report their concerns to the Council by calling 01642 726001.