An Enfield nightclub that repeatedly ignored advice and put the lives of hundreds of people at risk from contracting COVID-19 has been forced to pull down the shutters.
The Incense Lounge Ltd, 288a Alma Road, EN3 7BB was ordered to close with immediate effect for three months following a court hearing on Wednesday 10 February.
Following a joint operation between Enfield Council and the Metropolitan Police, an order was granted by Highbury Corner Magistrates Court for the closure under section 80 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The court also awarded costs of £4,454.24 payable in instalments to Enfield Council from 28 February 2021.
The order followed a number of visits from both the Metropolitan Police and Enfield Council from September 2020 where it was found that the business was in breach of both coronavirus and licensing laws. It had in fact been operating as a nightclub and shisha bar, serving alcohol and playing music with none of the required permissions.
On one occasion in October 2020, the police found a large gathering of people inside the building with no social distancing and with very few wearing face coverings. Nightclubs are specifically not permitted to open under the COVID-19 regulations due to the higher risk of transmission of coronavirus in these types of premises. On another occasion, shutters were closed to conceal what was happening inside, which posed a huge safety risk. Despite serving enforcement notices, the premises continued to operate, which is why Enfield Council applied to the court for a Closure Order.
An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “Enfield Council repeatedly visited these premises to advise the directors on what they needed to do to operate legally and safely. But the licensing officers were left with no confidence that those in charge were capable of complying with the law. There appeared to be a deliberate disregard of COVID-19 regulations and licensing laws, which risked the health of the wider public.”
“I would like to thank the Police, licensing officers and the Council’s legal team for working hard to protect the people of Enfield and ultimately, preventing the further spread of coronavirus.”
Breaching the closure order is an offence liable to a fine and/or imprisonment. For the full details of which businesses can and cannot operate under current restrictions, please visit GOV.UK. Local businesses can sign up to Enfield Council’s newsletters for the latest information on COVID-19 regulations, grants and other services.