Defiant owner of beach bar continued to serve ‘click and collect’ takeaway pints

The defiant owner of a beach bar that continued to serve ‘click and collect’ takeaway pints despite being handed a Covid notice has been fined £1,000. 

The Cleethorpes Beach Bar, nestled by the seafront in North East Lincolnshire, reopened as lockdown measures eased on Monday.

Its owner claimed that as it was running as a ‘click and collect’ service, it was an exception to rules which say restaurants and bars must remain closed until April 12 at the earliest.  

Kash Pungi, who runs the bar on the North Promenade, was handed a council order to cease trading on Tuesday, but opened again yesterday as Britain enjoyed a short-lived heatwave.

He has now been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £1,000 – but still has plans to remain open throughout the Easter break.

Licensing consultant Michael Kheng claims Mr Pungi is ‘meeting the requirements of the law’ by asking customers to pre-book drinks for collection from the venue. 

The Cleethorpes Beach Bar, nestled by the seafront in North East Lincolnshire, opened as lockdown measures eased on Monday. Pictured: Kash Pungi

The Cleethorpes Beach Bar, nestled by the seafront in North East Lincolnshire, opened as lockdown measures eased on Monday. Pictured: Kash Pungi

The Cleethorpes Beach Bar, nestled by the seafront in North East Lincolnshire, opened as lockdown measures eased on Monday. Pictured: Kash Pungi

He added that as the venue only has a licence to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises, he believes they should be classed as a ‘licensed shop selling alcohol’.

Current Covid-19 rules permit ‘off licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries)’ to remain open. 

Mr Pungi said: ‘We will see them in court. I’m doing everything right and have the best counsel and they say I’m right so we will see the council in court and I will be open tomorrow as planned.’

The business owner claimed customers were all abiding by the two-metre rule and keeping their distance following criticism over the opening on Wednesday. 

Mr Pungi said: ‘We are two-metres away from customers at all times because the bar is between us. It is continuously being cleaned and all payments are contactless.

‘As a family we all live together so this is our bubble. All the health and safety rules are being followed.’

Among those serving pints to beachgoers yesterday was his 74-year-old mother.  

Kash Pungi, who runs the bar on the North Promenade, was handed a council order to cease trading on Tuesday, but opened again yesterday as Britain enjoyed a short-lived heatwave

Kash Pungi, who runs the bar on the North Promenade, was handed a council order to cease trading on Tuesday, but opened again yesterday as Britain enjoyed a short-lived heatwave

Kash Pungi, who runs the bar on the North Promenade, was handed a council order to cease trading on Tuesday, but opened again yesterday as Britain enjoyed a short-lived heatwave

The business owner claimed customers were all abiding by the two-metre rule and keeping their distance following criticism over the opening on Wednesday

The business owner claimed customers were all abiding by the two-metre rule and keeping their distance following criticism over the opening on Wednesday

The business owner claimed customers were all abiding by the two-metre rule and keeping their distance following criticism over the opening on Wednesday

Mr Pungi said the trade throughout Wednesday had been less than on Tuesday. 

He said: ‘Everyone is behaving. I have never seen people so relaxed in Cleethorpes before they are all happy. 

‘Everyone is chilled and walking slowly and keeping apart. There is no rushing around. Everyone is abiding by the rules.’

He added: ‘If I have to wear a mask I will do. I will look into it. But we are always two metres away.’ 

He has now been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £1,000 - but still has plans to remain open throughout the Easter break

He has now been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £1,000 - but still has plans to remain open throughout the Easter break

He has now been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £1,000 – but still has plans to remain open throughout the Easter break

WHY DOES CLEETHORPES BEACH BAR THINK IT IS EXEMPT FROM COVID RULES? 

Under current Covid-19 rules, pubs and restaurants across England must remain closed. 

This is expected to change on April 12, when venues will be permitted to serve customers outdoors.  

Licensed venues will also be permitted to sell alcohol for take away or click and collect for the first time since last year.

Experts believe the venue in Cleethorpes is exempt from the current rules under a clause in the Covid regulations which permits ‘off licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol to remain open.’

Licensing consultant Michael Kheng compared the Beach Bar to a Tesco, insisting it does not fall under the same rules as a pub or cafe.

He told MailOnline: ‘These premises are fairly unique in their nature as they only have a premises licence to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises so we believe these premises are classed as a ‘licensed shops selling alcohol’.’

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After trading on Tuesday through a ‘click and collect’ system via text message, licensing officers served him with a prohibition notice, ordering him to close. 

The notice was made under the updated health protection regulations, which came into force on Monday. 

Under current Covid-19 rules, pubs and restaurants across England must remain closed for all but takeaways. This is expected to change on April 12, when venues will be permitted to serve customers outdoors.

However, experts have claimed that Mr Pungi had ‘met the requirements of the law’ by asking customers to order drinks in advance via text message. 

Licensing consultant Mr Kheng said: ‘The Beach Bar is not a pub or a cafe. In some respects it is just like Tesco, but just significantly smaller.

‘By pre-ordering, he is meeting the requirements of the law. The new regulations came into effect at the start of the week. 

‘You can open for pre-ordered drinks and the rules specifically state by text.

‘People are not going into premises for alcohol, so that is permitted. The difference with the Beach Bar is that it is not a pub.

‘You will not be allowed to sit in a pub beer garden until April 12, so he is unique as normal pubs can’t do this.’ 

A North East Lincolnshire Council spokesman said: ‘Following reports of the contravention of health protection regulations at the Beach Bar in Cleethorpes over recent days, we can confirm that Council officers have now served the owner of the premises with a £1,000 Fixed Penalty Notice.

‘This notice follows the prohibition notice which was served on the premises yesterday (Tuesday) after multiple breaches of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 (SI. 2021 No. 364).’ 

The council and Humberside Police have been contacted for further comment. 

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