A city centre bar has become the first in Manchester to be closed under new powers to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Manchester City Council has served a direction on Viadux in Albion Street ordering it to close, from 10am this (Thursday 13 August) morning, until further notice.
The enforcement action comes after Council licensing officers visited the bar on Saturday 8 August and found that it had failed to implement appropriate social distancing controls, failed to manage the behaviour of customers on site and failed to control the nature and volume of entertainment.
They observed that an event taking place in the bar, with a DJ playing extremely loud music, had got out of hand with a complete breakdown in social distancing by a crowd of people singing and chanting and no serious attempt by the bar’s management to control it. In addition, seating was too close to meet Covid-19 regulations – less than one metre apart.
Viadux’s owners will now be required to take measures to rectify the management of the premises and ensure a Covid-secure environment, where public health is not at risk, before it is allowed to re-open.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods for Manchester City Council, said: “This closure shows we will not hesitate to take action against venues which flout regulations put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19 and protect the public.
“The hospitality industry is hugely important to Manchester and we want to see it prosper – but not at the expense of risking public health.
“There are many responsible premises who are treating this situation, and the risk of further restrictions if we don’t get the number of cases down, with due seriousness. But if venues think they can just ignore their responsibilities we will move against them.”
David Regan, Director of Public Health for Manchester, said: “We all need to play our part to bring down the rate of Covid-19 transmission, following safe practices and observing social distancing.
“We are seeing some positive cases in hospitality premises and it’s vital that licensed venues, and indeed their customers, do all they can to minimise the risk of spread. We cannot afford to be lax and hopefully this closure will be a timely reminder.”
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.
“As this closure demonstrates, we will not hesitate to take action against businesses flouting the rules and will use our powers and legislation to their full to ensure premises operate safely.
“I hope this serves as a warning to other pubs and bars that there will be more enforcement to come if they do not comply with the regulations.”
The closure will be reviewed by the Council once every seven days.