A County Derry bar has been unable to open today after being informed by the PSNI they were in breach of Covid-19 regulations.
Dorman's Bar, on Queen Street, Magherafelt, announced the move via a post on their Facebook page, where they gave details of measures they had taken in an attempt to comply with the regulations.
"It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you that we cannot cater for our loyal customers today," they said.
"With the help of our dedicated staff we put huge effort into accommodating our customers last night in a way where we were able to observe and respect the current restrictions.
"We operated table service, ensuring every customer had a meal and were compliant with track and trace. The premises licensed capacity was reduced by 75% from pre COVID numbers as directed by our risk assessment.
"In spite of all of the above measures we have been informed by the PSNI that they did not agree."
Online footage appeared to show queues forming outside the premises.
Footage appearing to show long queues outside the premises circulated online last night, scenes the bar said were 'inveitable'.
"We are aware of a video circulating of a queue outside our premises last night in the public carpark. It was somewhat inevitable and we did our best to work with PSNI to control the situation," they said.
"We had the appropriate signage in place for social distancing and we had extra security staff in place constantly monitoring the queue to highlight the importance of following the guidelines.
"We are heartbroken and truly feel like the hospitality sector is being discriminated against as we have all seen the queues outside the likes of Tesco and Primark stores as-well as many other business’ as the Christmas rush ensues."
The bar has apologised to customers disappointed by the move and said they are currently working with the authorities in an effort to reopen.
"We are sorry to disappoint our customers today and we would also like to apologise to the small local business’, not least the take aways and taxi drivers who are also going to be adversely affected as a result.
"We will close for today and attempt to work with the authorities to agree a way forward. To all our customers who have booked in with us for today we cannot apologise enough.
"We hope we will be able to welcome you back from tomorrow onwards."
Police confirmed a COV2 prohibition notice had been served to premises in Magherafelt on Saturday night.
A spokesperson said: "On Saturday, 19 December police received a number of reports in relation to alleged breaches of Covid 19 regulations at licensed premises in the Magherafelt area.
"Police attended and engaged with the management and the premises were closed. A number of persons who were present dispersed from the area.
"A Covid 2 prohibition notice has been served. Police will continue to work with the owners of the premises."
District Commander, Superintendent Mike Baird, appealed to everyone to play their part in fighting Covid-19.
"A key role for the Police Service of Northern Ireland is to support our public health colleagues and the NI Executive to ensure we all play our part in stopping the spread of the coronavirus and help save lives," he said.
“The public will continue to see a visible policing presence, with our officers on the ground across the District.
“This is the most serious public health emergency in 100 years and we would appeal to everyone to continue to play their part in slowing the spread of this deadly virus and helping everyone stay safe and save lives.”
Up to December 14, 835 COV2 prohibition notices had been issued in Mid Ulster, with 136 relating to commercial premises.
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