Fife hospitality venues face hearing over COVID regulation breaches
Two Fife venues have escaped punishment after breaching coronavirus regulations.
No further action will be taken against Leven nightclub Truth or The Auld Hoose pub in Windygates after hosting staff and punters after-hours.
Fife Licensing Board heard police were called to Truth in the early hours of February 20 this year, during the most recent nationwide lockdown, after receiving a tip-off that people were in the club's bar area.
After being challenged by officers, one of the individuals identified himself as new venue owner Ewan Brown, saying he was there to clean up alongside some of his staff.
Fife police sergeant, Gordon Hood, told the meeting: “He said he was the new tenant of Truth and would be taking over the premises. He stated he was there to tidy up.
"There were four people there - three were consuming alcohol."
Fixed penalty notices were handed out, and were paid in full by Mr Brown, who also runs the Base restaurant elsewhere in the town.
Mr Brown told the board: "It was a lapse of judgement. I should have said no but because it was just us and the door was closed...it was a bad decision."
Truth has been transferred to Mr Brown from businessman Lee Murray. As the outgoing licence holder he remains liable for the conduct - and admitted that the visit had been indefensible at a time when venues were closed.
Mr Murray told the board: "That particular day we had agreed a deal with Ewan to take over Truth. I gave him the keys, and in his defence I think he was a bit excited.
"He runs Base in Leven already, he had been open through restrictions doing takeaway, and he came in to do cleaning and bits and bobs.”
A motion of no further action was proposed by Cllr Gavin Ellis, seconded by Cllr John Docherty, and accepted by the board.
Monday's board meeting, held at Fife House, also heard a review case for Windygates pub The Auld Hoose and its bar manager, Kevin Ewan.
Officers turned up at the pub at 11.15pm in November to find punters sat drinking pints at the bar -, at a time when venues were meant to be closed inside from 8pm - and 10pm overall.
Mr Ewan, as the personal licence holder on shift, was handed a fixed penalty notice.
Sgt Hood said: "Staff said they had encouraged patrons to leave, but had kept them inside until taxis arrived.
"It's the licence holder's duty to keep up to date with restrictions. It appears he wasn't really aware of the restrictions or was unwilling to correctly implement them as required."
Stephen McGowan, a solicitor representing the pub's owners, Dawn Adams and Joe Ward, said: “They are distressed to be in this position and both take this matter very seriously," McGowan said.
"The only people inside were the staff taking drinks to customers in the beer garden, who remained there until 10pm.
"After it closed, Kevin accepts there was a delay in having people leave whilst waiting on taxis to collect them.
"He has been very clear with me that no alcohol was served after 10pm."
No further action was taken against either the venue or the manager.