Covid: Luton venue closed down over 100-strong wedding

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The event at the Grand Park Hall in Luton was a "flagrant disregard of the rules", police said

A venue which hosted a wedding attended by more than 100 people has been ordered to close and seen its manager fined £10,000.

The event, which breached the then-limit of 30 people for weddings, took place on 23 September at the Grand Park Hall in Park Street, Luton.

Bedfordshire Police shut down the event and later issued a dispersal order to reduce crowds that remained.

A force spokesman said it had been a "flagrant disregard of the rules".

On its website, Grand Park Hall describes itself as a venue "perfect for all size wedding parties" which can accommodate between 100 and 550 guests.

Luton Council has issued a direction notice on the premises ordering it to close until it is satisfied that it will reopen safely.

The town, which has a population of 213,000, recorded 135 positive Covid-19 cases in the weekend ending 26 September, up from 85 cases the week before.

On Tuesday, police issued a £10,000 fixed penalty notice to the venue's manager who was on duty during the event.

Ch Supt John Murphy said: "This case was a flagrant disregard of the rules and risked undoing all of the good work that is being done by the majority of people."

Councillor Jacqui Burnett said it was a "shocking and dangerous breach" of the restrictions when there was a "concerning rise" in cases both nationally and locally.

"[It] not only put the people who attended the event and their friends and family at risk, but is also a slap in the face to the large majority of businesses and premises across the town who have worked so hard and sacrificed a lot to make their venues Covid-compliant and safe for their customers" she said.

The BBC has approached the venue for comment.

This week, the national limit on weddings was reduced to 15 people.

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