A Smethwick venue caught repeatedly flouting COVID-19 laws by hosting large events could face an unlimited fine if it ignores a health protection Direction served by Sandwell Council.
Council enforcement officers served the Direction on a banqueting suite based at NSA House, Cornwall Road, Smethwick.
It bans the company from holding any more events at the premises, including weddings, funerals wakes, parties, musical performances, christenings and other gatherings.
Councils have powers to issue such a Direction, under Regulation 5 (1) of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations, in response to ‘a serious and imminent threat to public health’.
The Direction will remain in force until revoked by the council, with weekly reviews.
The organiser must also advertise cancellation of any future events there which had already been booked.
Failure to comply would lead to fixed penalty fines and ultimately could mean magistrate court action.
Sandwell Council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “Nobody wants to see Sandwell business activities shut down and obviously the council would prefer to be supporting them to operate legally – but this is particularly irresponsible given the very high infection rates in the Smethwick area.
“This action is a clear signal to all our businesses that we will not hesitate to use all powers available to enforce the rules around safety and public health and I urge them all to heed the warning.”
Sandwell Police had visited the premises a number of times before the action was taken.
Sandwell Commander, Chief Superintendent Ian Green, said: “The council and the police have always co-operated very closely, however since the pandemic hit, we have seen the partnership really shift gear and move rapidly onto a new level of joint working.
“We are all dealing with new pressures and adapting to new challenges every day and I am proud to see our two organisations facing these with a united front.
“If firms refuse to take responsibility and are putting our community at risk we have no choice.”