Kettering restaurant boss given big Covid fine after hosting lockdown wedding
A total of 27 party-goers were celebrating a wedding
The director of a restaurant in Kettering has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs after admitting flouting Covid regulations by hosting a wedding in May 2021.
Wanda Trela-Pyzalska, director of The Tavern & Restaurant Ltd, pleaded guilty to the charge during a hearing at Wellingborough Magistrates' Court in early January.
The breach took place when police officers were called to a wedding party for 27 people celebrating inside the Bath Road venue.
Trela-Pyzalska failed to follow the Covid regulations which were in place at the time.
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Blatchly, from Northamptonshire Police, said: “The rules around large gatherings were very clear at the time of this offence and had been shared with the business prior to this event.
“We know the vast majority of businesses abided by the law during the pandemic, particularly when the risk to public health was high, and so it’s right that those people who so flagrantly broke the law are pursued in the courts.”
In April 2021, the venue applied to North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) for a temporary event notice (TEN) to host a wedding at the premises on May 15 - when such events were prohibited by the Covid regulations in place at the time. NNC confirmed the rules to the applicant, who was also informed that to host the event would be in breach of those regulations.
Trela-Pyzalska was then asked to provide more information to NNC, but she failed to do so and withdrew the TEN application on April 20.
On May 15, an officer from NNC visited the premises with two Northamptonshire Police officers - counting 27 party-goers at the wedding celebration taking place on the venue's first floor.
They informed the owner that the celebration was in breach of the Covid regulations and when asked, the guests agreed to sit outside in groups of no more than six people. The owner also agreed to close the premises by 10pm that evening.
Cllr David Brackenbury, NNC’s executive member for growth and regeneration, said: “We are aware that the hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and the rules have been difficult, but the legislation in place at the time was clear and there to protect both staff and customers and minimise risk of spreading the virus.”
Evidence from Northamptonshire Police officers’ body cameras was used during the court hearing.
Cllr Jason Smithers, leader of NNC, added: “Our officers have worked tirelessly since the start of the pandemic with local business owners, offering advice where necessary. They will only act if all other options have been exhausted and, unfortunately, as this case shows the fines can be costly to businesses.”
Trela-Pyzalska was ordered to pay a £5,000 fine, costs of £1,050 and a victim surcharge of £190.