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Bar complains after being hit with prohibition order for breaching coronavirus guidelines

PUBLISHED: 12:12 06 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:06 08 June 2020

Ms Smith said that people were drinking by their cars but not on site. Photo: Gail Smith

Ms Smith said that people were drinking by their cars but not on site. Photo: Gail Smith

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A seaside bar has been hit with a prohibition order after claims it had breached coronavirus guidelines by holding a fundraising event with a weight lifter.

Gail Smith, owner of Peggoty's Lounge, said that the gym area was cordoned off and that one person could use the equipment at a time, as per the New Anglia Growth Hub's recommendations. Photo: Gail SmithGail Smith, owner of Peggoty's Lounge, said that the gym area was cordoned off and that one person could use the equipment at a time, as per the New Anglia Growth Hub's recommendations. Photo: Gail Smith

Peggoty’s Lounge in Great Yarmouth was taken over by Gail Smith and her business partner on March 17 of this year, who have renamed the premises Luck, Lust, Liquor and Grinds.

According to Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC), the bar breached regulations on May 30 and 31 by “carrying out a business activity that is prohibited - by providing customer seating and an outdoor gym as well as allowing patrons to consume drinks on the premises”.

The bar had been running a socially-distanced fundraiser in conjuction with a local weight lifter, Darren Clayton, where people paid to use Mr Clayton’s training equipment one at a time.

In a statement, the council said: “We have had to serve a Prohibition Notice on a business in Great Yarmouth, under the coronavirus legislation.
“The notice prevents the opening of the premises, other than for the provision of takeaway, as per the current regulations.
“There was no police involvement in the serving of this notice and no further action will be taken if the notice is complied with.”

Peggoty's Bar in Great Yarmouth received a prohibition notice from the council which said they had breached Covid-19 guidelines. This photo was taken by a member of the public, but owner Gail Smith said the angle was Peggoty's Bar in Great Yarmouth received a prohibition notice from the council which said they had breached Covid-19 guidelines. This photo was taken by a member of the public, but owner Gail Smith said the angle was "misleading". Photo: Submitted

Ms Smith, however, said the notice was unjustified and has put in a complaint to the council by letter.

She said: “We didn’t think anything we were doing was in contravention of the guidelines, which we researched thoroughly before the event at the weekend.

“Given that we only opened on March 17, and that our opening event couldn’t take place due to lockdown, Darren was just helping us get to know the locals and do something for the community.”

Mr Clayton said he consulted the New Anglia Growth Hub, which offers advice to businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk, about whether the event would be permissible under Covid-19 guidelines.

Ms Smith said the area had clearly been cordoned off and that because of that, no drinks were consumed on site. Photo: Gail SmithMs Smith said the area had clearly been cordoned off and that because of that, no drinks were consumed on site. Photo: Gail Smith

It assured him that running the fundraiser with appropriate safeguards should be fine.

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Mr Clayton said: “I looked at the guidelines before and thought that the stationing of dumbells and squat rack outside, for use by one person at a time, didn’t constitute a “fixed outdoor gym”, like the one on Gorleston Clifftops. On this basis I didn’t think there’d be a problem.

“What I was doing was no different to a personal trainer working outside with a client.

Gail Smith said she was excited for people to see inside the new lounge and wanted to build up a good relationship with the community. Photo: Gail SmithGail Smith said she was excited for people to see inside the new lounge and wanted to build up a good relationship with the community. Photo: Gail Smith

“Besides, it was to raise funds at the James Paget Hospital and I wasn’t getting anything out of it. Why would I willingly break the guidelines if I didn’t believe the event was within the law?”

Venue owner Ms Smith also said that a photograph circulating on social media showing an apparent lack of social distancing at the venue over last weekend is “misleading”.

She said: “The fridge stationed outside by the equipment was for water and soft drinks. That, plus any alcoholic drinks we were serving from the bar were not consumed on site but for takeaway.”

“The picture has been taken from the other side of the car park, and the extent to which it has been cropped makes the distance between people look smaller than it really is.

Gail Smith said she was excited for people to see inside the new lounge and wanted to build up a good relationship with the community. Photo: Gail SmithGail Smith said she was excited for people to see inside the new lounge and wanted to build up a good relationship with the community. Photo: Gail Smith

“One of the groups huddled together all live above the pub, and so come from the same household.

“The two men standing at the fridge came to buy a beer and then left. They did not drink on site.

“And the man sitting on the chair was a member of staff taking donations for the fundraiser. He’s sitting down because he’s registered disabled.”

She added: “The police turned up during the day and left because they were satisfied that we were following the guidance. So I’m baffled as to why the council have issued us with this notice.”

Norfolk Constabulary have confirmed that they had no recorded incidents at Peggoty’s on either May 30 or 31 - meaning the issue was most likely dealt with swiftly by patrol officers and no further action was deemed necessary.


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