Harrogate licensee speaks about crowds outside West Park pubs and calls for 'safe environment'

A Harrogate town centre pub which opened a takeaway service at the weekend says it is working with North Yorkshire Police and Harrogate Borough Council in its efforts to keep within the rules of social distancing.

Monday, 1st June 2020, 6:27 pm
"We will engage to discuss the continued guidelines with the local authorities to maintain a safe environment for everyone" - Entreprenuer and licensee John Quinlan of Three's A Crowd in Harrogate.

Licensee John Quinlan of Three's A Crowd, formerly The Muckles before a major refurbishment, said it had done everything possible to follow Government guidelines.

No one had been allowed inside the bar facing the West Park Stray and it had not put out any tables or chairs for customers.

But it could not have predicted the number of people who would turn up yesterday, Sunday for cold drinks and Boss Burgers in the hot, bright sunshine.

Mr Quinlan said: "The majority of people who bought food or drink from a table outside our bar abided by Government rules.

"There were a few groups of people yesterday who were congregating and decided not to move on but they were none in front of Three's A Crowd.

"We worked with North Yorkshire Police and Harrogate Borough Council to monitor social distancing and they were supportive and helpful throughout.

"We've invited the licensing authorities to come along and see what we are doing.

"We want to make sure we do not break any rules or make the situation the country is in any worse.

"We will engage to discuss the continued guidelines with the local authorities to maintain a safe environment for everyone."

But a neighbouring pub on the West Park strip did find itself in trouble with the local authorities.

The popular Coach & Horses, which had some tables and chairs outside for customers buying take-out drinks was issued with a prohibition notice by enforcement officers from Harrogate Borough Council to stop it serving beer after concerns were raised that customers were ignoring social distancing rules.

Harrogate Borough Council has said pubs are able to offer take away food and drink but it will "all necessary enforcement action if a business breaks the current coronavirus lockdown legislation."

Hospitality entrepreneur John Quinlan said he was considering bringing back Three's A Crowd's takeaway service this weekend but did not want to take any risks and had made no firm decision as yet.

He said: "The police were down three times along West Park to disperse the crowds that were gathering.

"We didn't offer any seating. We just had a takeaway table outside the pub.

"We are a responsible operator. The majority of our guests were sensible and followed the social distancing measures set out with only a few that decided to ignore these.

"With the Stray being closed directly opposite and people beginning to congregate we decided to close early and stop serving, asking people to disband.

"We felt this was the responsible thing to do. We all have to adhere to the rules and the safety of our community is our priority.

"We took it upon ourselves to clean up the street and public bins of any litter and waste. We love our town."

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