Hampshire hotel facing £1,000 fine after hosting Christmas Eve party
A hotel could have its licence taken away after being caught hosting a party for about 40 people on Christmas Eve.
The licensee of the Bitterne Park Hotel, on Cobden Avenue in Southampton, has been summoned to court and faces a £1,000 fine after the ‘blatant breach’ of coronavirus restrictions.
Police visited the hotel after reports of four people appearing to enter the building for a party at about 7pm on December 24.
When officers arrived they found about 40 people in a staff-only area who were drinking alcohol at tables where they had not been served food.
The guests were also moving freely around the room without wearing masks.
Police dispersed the visitors and reported the licensee for the breaches in restrictions.
At the time Southampton was in tier three, which means people should not meet anyone socially indoors unless they are in the same household bubble, or a legal exemption applies.
Restaurants and bars, including within hotels, have to close and can only operate through collections or deliveries.
On Boxing Day Southampton moved into tier four, with people being asked to stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse.
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson said police would work with Southampton City Council to review the licence for the hotel.
PC Mark Hawley, from the force’s licensing team, said: ‘This was a blatant breach of the Health Protection Regulations that are in force to keep people safe during the pandemic.
‘The guidelines in place around hospitality are clear, it is very disappointing therefore that a private party was held that put everyone attending at risk.
‘We are working with partners, including the city council, to ensure where businesses or individuals breach the regulations, that this is addressed quickly to provide reassurance to the community.
‘We hope this sends a message to other businesses that breaching the regulations will be dealt with robustly to ensure everyone’s safety.’