East London council shuts down Shisha bar flouting coronavirus rules
A shisha bar and lounge in Barking and Dagenham has been forced to close for two weeks after it continuously broke the government’s coronavirus rules.
Kaafi Studio Lounge in River Road, Barking was issued with a prohibition notice back on Friday 1 May 2020 following numerous reports that it had been trading when it should have been closed during lockdown.
Enforcement officers then visited the premises on Saturday 8 August at 3.04am following a noise complaint, but were declined entrance to an obvious party. However, officers witnessed about 200 people leaving the premises after the event had been closed down by the manager, Mr Yahye Ahmed.
Following this, the council’s trading standards officers visited Mr Ahmed and carried out a risk assessment on the premises where they asked him to implement a number of risk mitigating steps, including reducing the number of customers on the premises in the main room and in the outside area.
Enforcement officers subsequently visited the premises at 2am on Saturday 26 September as part of a programme of late-night weekend visits to hospitality establishments and observed it openly trading when it should have been closed by 10pm as required by curfew regulations.
Once again, officers were refused access to the venue but observed over 100 people leave during two visits which indicates it was seriously overcrowded.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “We have made it very clear to all businesses that we will not stand for them putting our residents’ safety at risk. We will use all use all the powers at our disposal to deal with businesses putting profits before people and will close them down if they do not follow the rules.
“This business has continuously flouted the rules and it is only right that they have been temporarily closed down. To other businesses thinking of not playing ball, don’t, as the council will not hesitate to act.”
Kaafi Studio Lounge was closed at 7pm on Thursday 1 October and unless significant improvements are made it must now remain closed until 7pm on Thursday 15 October.
If you know of a business flouting the coronavirus rule, please report them to www.lbbd.gov.uk/covidabuse.