Hotel blames religious group for 'major breach' at Northampton 'wedding reception' which cost organiser £10,000 Covid fine

Police stepped in after group ignored hotel staff's requests to leave

By Kevin Nicholls
Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 3:39 pm

The owners of a Northampton hotel where police crashed a function breaking Covid regulations say they have cancelled all future bookings with the church involved.

Police issued a £10,000 fine to the organiser of what they believed to be a wedding reception attended by up to 75 people at the Campanile Hotel on Sunday afternoon.

But a spokesman for the Louvre Hotels Group insisted they thought the event was a regular booking by a religious group renting a conference room to use for a 'church service' at the Grange Park site and people there were an 'audience' rather than guests.

It is understood staff at the hotel expected the usual number of worshipers but asked the organiser and guests to leave when they realised more people had turned up.

A prepared statement from the company's Paris HQ said: “Over the last few months, the Campanile hotels have worked extremely hard to ensure that all Covid-compliance procedures are followed to the letter.

“For the past two years, a religious group has been renting a conference room at the Campanile Hotel Northampton to hold its gatherings.

"Since March, these have been held in strict accordance with the appropriate Covid guidelines: social distancing and limited attendance.

Police issued a £10,000 fine to the organiser of Sunday's event at the Campanile hotel on Grange Park

“On December 13, our on-duty colleagues witnessed a major breach of Covid restrictions with considerably more guests on site. The request for everyone to leave immediately was ignored and the hotel had to involve the authorities to disperse the audience.

“All future bookings with the church have been cancelled. The safety of our staff and customers is our top priority.”

Northamptonshire Police have confirmed a 54-year-old man from Milton Keynes was issued with the penalty notice after identifying himself as the event organiser to their Operation Talla team, which deals with breaches of Covid regulations.

The hotel is also being investigated by South Northamptonshire District Council's environmental health officers.

Weddings and receptions are limited to 15 guests by laws covering restrictions on people mixing during the pandemic.

Places of worship can open in Tier Two areas such as Northamptonshire, but visitors must not interact with anyone outside their own household or support bubble.

Sunday's function followed two house parties which Police broke up on Saturday night which were attended by around 200 people.

Both party organisers and a DJ were issued with similar £10,000 penalties.