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Restaurant owner fined £5,000 for breaching Covid rules

Health and safety

13 January 2022

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The Director of a restaurant in Kettering has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs after admitting to flouting Covid regulations by hosting a wedding in May 2021.

Wanda Trela-Pyzalska, director of The Tavern & Restaurant Ltd in Bath Road, Kettering pleaded guilty to the charge during a hearing at Wellingborough Magistrates in early January.

The charges related to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021, Schedule 2 and Ms Trela-Pyzalska failed to follow the Covid controls which were in place at the time.

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 15 May 2021. Such events were prohibited by the Covid regulations that were in place at the time and NNC confirmed that to the applicant, who was also informed that to host the event would be in breach of those regulations. The applicant was asked to provide more information to NNC, but she failed to do so and withdrew the TEN on 20 April. 

On 15 May, an Officer from NNC visited the premises with two Officers from Northamptonshire Police and they witnessed a wedding celebration taking place on the first floor of the premises. One of the Police officers counted 27 people in attendance. They informed the owner that the celebration was in breach of the Covid regulations and on request, the guests agreed to leave the premises and sit outside in groups of no more than six people. The owner also agreed to close the premises by 10pm that evening. 

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.Cllr David Brackenbury, NNC’s Executive member for Growth and Regeneration
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.Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of NNC

Throughout this case, NNC have worked closely with Northamptonshire Police and evidence from Northamptonshire Police Officers’ body cameras was used during the court hearing.

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.
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Blatchly, from Northamptonshire Police

Ms Trela-Pyzalska was ordered to pay a £5,000 fine, costs of £1050 and a victim surcharge of £190