A café in Burnage which repeatedly ignored pleas to trade safely due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been closed.
On Wednesday February 10, 2021, a Closure Order was made against Kate and Luc Café and Restaurant following a hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court.
The café, in Burnage Lane, Manchester, had been the source of frequent complaints from the public to the Council and Greater Manchester Police over its owner’s failures to follow Covid-19 restrictions.
Issues with the premises date back to November 2020 when the Council issued a letter to its owners regarding face coverings not being worn by their staff.
On January 30, 2021, this was followed up when the Council issued an Improvement Notice under The Health Protection Regulations 2020. This was in response to complaints from the public that the café’s staff were still not wearing face coverings, as well as allowing food to be served inside to seated customers, with no efforts to enforce social distancing or the wearing of face coverings.
The owners also failed to install protective plastic screens to create a barrier between themselves and members of the public.
Advice was given by Council officers to staff, but this was ignored.
On February 2, a Fixed Penalty Notice of £1,000 was issued to the café for breaches of the Improvement Notice.
On February 4, the café's owners were issued with a Premises Closure Warning. This was as a result of the abuse suffered by Council and Police officers when carrying out their duties, as well as the potential disorder posed by the café's customers.
A second FPN of £2,000 was issued on February 6, for continued breaches of the Improvement Notice. This was despite earlier warnings that breaches could result in the closure of the premises.
Council officers were again called to the café on Sunday February 7, after disorder was reported with Officers from GMP leading on dispersing a sizeable group of customers from the café.
As a result of the disorder, a Closure Notice was issued against the premises on February 8. The Closure Notice, issued under section 76 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, prohibited access to the premises other than for essential reasons such as removing perishable goods and switching off equipment.
The following day on February 9, a third FPN for £4,000 was issued against the owners of the café for their continued breaches of the initial Improvement Notice (issued on January 30).
Because of the excessive disruption caused by this café remaining open, the abuse aimed at Council and Police Officers, and the clear threat to public health posed by the owner’s actions an application was made at Magistrates’ Court to impose a three-month Closure Order, pursuant to section 80 of Anti-social behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
This hearing took place yesterday (February 10, 2021) at Manchester Magistrates’ Court, with the bench granting the Order. The owners of the café Lucjan Domanski and Katarzyan Korzewnikow Domanska did not attend the hearing.
The café was ordered to close until May 9, and the owners ordered to pay the Council’s legal costs of £3,586.52.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods for Manchester City Council, said: “The behaviour of the owners of this café has gone so far beyond what is acceptable the closure of this premises was the only route left open for us to go down.
“For almost a year the Council, GMP and our colleagues in the wider Community Safety Partnership have been fighting to keep residents safe from Covid-19. This has required a huge sacrifice from so many of us, and it cannot be denied that the hospitality industry has borne the brunt of restrictions put in place by Central Government.
“However, while hundreds of other businesses have adapted and put in place procedures to keep their customers safe, the same cannot be said for Kate and Luc's. They have shown a disregard for methods proven to slow the rate of Covid transmission and have verbally abused our officers as well as the Police when they have been challenged. We have a diverse and dedicated staff who do not deserve this when simply doing their jobs.
“This could not be allowed to continue and I am appreciative of the work done by our Compliance Officers, our legal team and our colleagues in Greater Manchester Police for their work in securing this closure.”