Bar told to stop serving pints says it’s exempt from rules as it’s ‘like Tesco’

A beach bar was ordered to stop serving booze after reopening earlier this week – but its workers claim they’ve done nothing wrong.

The Beach Bar in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, started welcoming customers on Monday, March 29.

It ran a click a collect system via text message, with dozens of people seen queuing outside – some waiting up to 40 minutes.

However, North East Lincolnshire licensing officers later ordered it to stop serving alcohol and served it with a coronavirus prohibition notice.

However, owner Kash Pungi insists that his business is exempt from the new lockdown rules which came into force on Monday, even with bars and pubs still shut, Grimsby Live reports.

Licensing consultant Michael Kheng, who helped him reopen, said: “The Beach Bar is not a pub or a cafe. In some respects it is just like Tesco, but just significantly smaller.

“By pre-ordering, he is meeting the requirements of the law.

“The new regulations came into effect at the start of the week. You can open for pre-ordered drinks and the rules specifically state by text.

"People are not going into premises for alcohol, so that is permitted. The difference with the Beach Bar is that it is not a pub.

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"You will not be allowed to sit in a pub beer garden until April 12, so he is unique as normal pubs can't do this."

He said Mr Pungi would now be suffering financially and could potentially seek damages from North East Lincolnshire Council if he appeals.

Mr Pungi said: “I will be going to court over this. They are making it harder for businesses in Cleethorpes that are just trying to provide a service. I have always worked with the council. But this is making it harder."

While many were happy to queue for a drink and were pleased the bar was serving alcohol, some felt it was unsafe.

Retired shopkeeper Brian Jones, of Cleethorpes, said: "There are too many people and they are getting too close. We are not sticking around."

However, others were happy just to get a nice pint in the sun.

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One customer said: "I have not had a pint in over four months. It is that long ago I can't remember what it is like. I am having a Corona to celebrate. I haven't minded waiting in this weather."

A spokesman from North East Lincolnshire Council said: “Following reports about a premises in Cleethorpes, we can confirm that council officers took legal advice and have served a prohibition notice this evening [March 30]

“This notice requires the premises to cease trading immediately, in line with current Government COVID legislation.”

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