Shisha cafe filled with 150 people closed down days after £10,000 Covid fine


Police have closed down a shisha cafe after storming inside to find around 150 people crammed together just days after the venue was hit with a £10,000 fine for Covid breaches.

Kasablanca in Birmingham was filled with patrons at around 1am on Saturday despite being hit with the hefty penalty for breaking restrictions earlier this month, said West Midlands Police.

Video shows officers forcing entry to the smokers’ lounge in the Highgate area of the city, with shrieks audible as they disperse the crowds.

Birmingham and the wider West Midlands combined authority area has been widely mooted for a move to Tier 3 “very high alert” measures as soon as the end of next week, as infection rates continue to rise.

In a separate incident, the owner of a venue in Smethwick, West Midlands, has been fined £10,000 after hosting a wedding celebration for more than 70 people.

Chief Superintendent Andy Beard said: “It’s unacceptable that these businesses continue to flout the law, putting lives at risk and increasing the risk of infections as this deadly virus continues to spread.

“This is a difficult time for everyone, but we won’t be able to control this pandemic and return to a sense of normality if this continues to happen.

“We all need to help stop the spread of coronavirus, and no-one is above the law when it comes to that.”

Closed-down venues have their orders reviewed every week by the local authority and owners must prove they are complying with the law before reopening, the force said.