Police reassure community restaurant is "going above and beyond" to keep to coronavirus regulations

“There are no coronavirus breaches going on at this restaurant”.

By Catherine Musgrove
Saturday, 22nd August 2020, 7:00 am

That’s the message from Lancashire Police, following concern over the Raees restaurant in Higher Walton Road, Higher Walton.

A meeting was held on Thursday between restaurant owners, police, South Ribble Council officers and residents, after complaints that people were not socially distancing in queues outside, being noisy when leaving, and parking inconsiderately.

Chief Inspector Chris Abbott, who chaired the meeting, said: “We are very happy that the restaurant is going above and beyond.”

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Recent queues outside the restaurant

He added that there was “a lot of misunderstanding” by people in the community not realising that people in areas of local lockdown, like Preston and Blackburn, were allowed to travel for meals out with their families. He said that pictures circulating of people queuing closely only showed large household groups together, and views could be distorted by the angle the photo was taken.

South Ribble Council confirmed that restaurant owners have agreed to measures to reduce queuing. They include walk-in customers being asked to leave their contact numbers and wait in a car while a table becomes clear.

Raees must also remind all customers at the point of making a booking that they must park considerately and leave quietly, and that only one family is allowed to dine together.

Chf Insp Abbot said police will patrol to assess parking for obstructions and they will check the queue to make sure people are socially distanced.

Councillor Mick Titherington, Deputy Leader of South Ribble Council and Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Leisure, said: “I am pleased to report that we have held very constructive talks with the management of Raees Indian restaurant and I’m of the understanding that the restaurant is also working with Lancashire Police to ensure the safety of all patrons and those living in the area.

“On the basis of Covid-19-related concerns raised in relation to the restaurant, our Environmental Health Team visited the venue to inspect their Covid-secure measures.

“On the visit, the team found no evidence that the venue was in breach of any Covid-secure guidance, including that of socially distancing outside the venue in the queue, and on this occasion no further action was needed.

“We are of course monitoring the situation closely and we will be continuing to work with the venue, and police where necessary, to help the restaurant to continue to have the measures in place to ensure the safety of their patrons.

“We take all concerns of our residents seriously and we’re actively working across our communities to ensure that all businesses have the correct measures in place to ensure the safety of our residents.

“Please forward any and all concerns or complaints to our environmental health team on 01772 625 625.”

Councillor Barrie Yates, who attended the meeting on behalf of residents, said: "I'm happy with the outcome of the meeting as long as all parties keep to the conditions that where agreed at the meeting by the restaurant owners, police and South Ribble officers."

Management of Raees were unavailable for comment.