A village pub which vowed to stay open during lockdown remains closed – after police intervened.
The Reform Inn, at Thornclilffe near Leek in Staffordshire, had planned to re-open on Friday – despite national lockdown rules which bans pubs, restaurants, bars and a host of other businesses from operating.
Nick and Lucy Clowes, who run the pub, told punters via a video on their Facebook page that they would be staying open in defiance of the Covid regulations.
Nick said: “Despite following all the Government guidelines to the best of our ability we had to close our business that we have put blood, sweat and tears in to grow.
“During the other lockdown we knew another one was going to come and we thought, we are not going to lie down. We are fighting this tooth and nail. Fear is no longer an excuse. We need to do the right thing.”
But following a visit from Staffordshire Police licensing officers – who warned the couple that they would receive a hefty fine for breaching Covid regulations if they opened – the pub remains closed.
A sign which has been placed in the window of the pub says: “We have decided to remain closed whilst we review the current situation.
“For those of you who are supporting us, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, it means such a lot.
“More than ever now we need to stay strong and unite.
“Once we have a way forward we will let you know.”
Staffordshire Police told StokeonTrentLive : “We’re aware of a Facebook post from a pub in Leek claiming they will be ignoring Covid regulations and opening their doors to members of the public.
“We – alongside the licensing team at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council – visited the outlet and advised them against opening, pointing them towards business grants and support.
“We have reminded them if they do open then they will be fined whilst anyone turning up will also be at risk of a fine for breaching Covid regulations.
“We would like to remind everyone of their responsibilities to keep each other safe and to help beat this virus.
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“Our priority is to work together to control the spread of the virus across the region and help prevent local healthcare services being overwhelmed.
“All of us need to focus, adjust and adapt to do the best we can in the circumstances, including taking personal responsibility to ensure we follow the rules on social distancing, personal hygiene and the use of face coverings.
“It is critical the people of Staffordshire closely comply with the revised measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our friends and family.
“We will always look to engage and explain on these matters but will enforce if necessary. You risk losing your licence if you decide to ignore these regulations.”