City Inspectors peer through letter boxes for Covid curfew lock-ins

Knock, knock, it’s the fun police! City Inspectors have been peering through pub letter boxes on the hunt for illegal lock-ins held after 10pm Covid curfew

  • The inspectors wore City of Westminster Council blue vests during hunt
  • New rules in England make all pubs and restaurants close their doors at 10pm
  • The restrictions did not stop students in Preston heading out to celebrate 
  • As darkness descended on London revellers enjoyed drinks in pub beer gardens

Nosy council inspectors have been peering through letterboxes and windows in an effort to track down pubs and clubs holding lock-ins past the coronavirus curfew.

The City of Westminster Council workers were caught in the act peeping into venues in usually-bustling Soho in London.

Restrictions currently in place throughout England ban venues from being open after 10pm to try and slow down the spread of Covid-19 infections.

E-commerce consultant Dan Barker spied the inspectors in action and took pictures, which he uploaded to his Twitter feed.

He wrote: “Strange sight – City Inspectors, working through Soho, looking for illegal speakeasies open after the 10pm cutoff.”

The inspectors were seen peering through letter boxes in Soho by stunned passers-by

The City Inspectors from City of Westminster Council also looked through windows

Even world-famous Ronnie Scott’s was not immune as the inspectors took a close look

The workers are from City of Westminster Council and acted after the new rules came in

Later he told Yahoo UK: “I’d guess I saw them looking into a dozen or so places – the area has quite a lot of pubs and bars.

“It took me a moment to process what they were doing at first. I saw them again 15 minutes or so later outside the Hippodrome, which is usually open 24/7.”

It came as revellers who headed into town and city centres to enjoy a few drinks last night were turfed out of pubs and restaurants as the country’s first 10pm pub and restaurant curfew began.

Chairs and tables were left empty after customers enjoying drinks with friends on outside tables in Soho, central London, were told to ‘get out to help out’ by hospitality staff as the Government’s curfew came into effect.

Metropolitan Police officers including Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick enforced the new coronavirus restrictions last night as bar and restaurant staff cleared tables and chairs off the streets before 10pm

Others enjoyed a drink at pub beer gardens in London Bridge while for others the restrictions caused a few cancellations as revellers feared their meals would be cut short.

BRISTOL: Pubs and restaurants in the West Country obeyed the curfew last night

LONDON: Empty tables in Soho showed that revellers and establishments were obeying rules

NEWCASTLE: Drinkers were left out in the cold after north east pubs shut at 10pm on the dot

In Preston, Leeds, Brighton and Newcastle, students celebrating their first term of university – pictured jumping into the air with glee as they enjoyed even a partial nightlife – carried boxes of drinks home with them.

The strict measures, which also ban customers from ordering from the bar, were imposed by the Government this week amid Tory backbench fears that Boris Johnson was gearing up for a second national lockdown.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, who is leading the Met’s response to the pandemic, said: ‘The vast majority of Londoners have stuck to the rules and responded positively to the unprecedented situation we are in. We thank them for that.

‘Throughout the last few months we have continued to step in where necessary to protect the public, even as the rules relaxed, with officers working hard to tackle challenging incidents such as unlicensed music events throughout the summer – sometimes facing extreme hostility and even violence. In many cases we worked proactively and successfully ahead these events to prevent them from happening in the first place.

‘However, it is clear that there is a renewed need for everyone to do everything they can to minimise the risk of transmission of what is a potentially deadly disease – that means everyone following the rules. Our officers will help people do that and will explain to the public what those regulations are, however, they will also be firm and take appropriate action against those that simply refuse to follow the law and who are deliberately placing communities at risk.

‘We urge the public to continue to report serious breaches to us via the 101 telephone system or using our online reporting system. However, we should all bear in mind that there are a number of exemptions to the rules which may apply to any situation so an apparent breach may not be what it appears and not every call may generate an immediate police response.

‘Additionally, demands on the Met from crime, non-Covid related anti-social behaviour and protests are returning to pre-Covid levels so we will continue to respond to these alongside the pandemic in order to keep Londoners safe.’

Just hours after the announcement was made by the Prime Minister on Tuesday, food establishments slowly recovering from months of lockdown were faced with a wave of cancellations from concerned customers.

George Madgwick, 30, who runs The Wicks Bistro, in Cosham, near Portsmouth, told MailOnline that he quickly had eight cancellations from worried diners who booked late-evening tables.

Mr Madgwick, who started up in February, said: ‘People don’t want to rush and are worried because it’s not last orders at 10pm, it’s everyone out the door at 10pm. It’s taken away our ability to do three sittings in a night.

‘Around 50 per cent of our business comes in at 7.30pm and we get around 20-25 per cent for 5pm tables, so the 8.45pm tables is about 20-25 per cent of our nightly business.

‘We’ve already had eight cancellations since the announcement and in the last 24 hours we have had zero bookings after 8.30pm, when we would normally have three or four.’ 

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