Sport Shack slams Sheffield Council as ‘not fit for purpose’ over ‘massive’ Covid fine

The Ecclesall Road micro-bar told its staff to avoid confronting customers over Covid rules after a worker was abused – but the decision to prioritise their safety landed the venue a £1,000 fine

By: Jake Loader
Date: 05/11/21

The owner of Sport Shack has labelled Sheffield Council as ‘not fit for purpose’ after he was hit with a ‘terrible’ £1,000 fine because a drinker ordered from the bar in June.

Daniel Grayson, 49, had told staff at his Ecclesall Road pub to avoid confrontation with customers after a 20-year-old barmaid, Rachel Hawman, was spat at and called a ‘slag’ for telling a man to put a mask on.

With days to go until restrictions were lifted, a man at the micro-pub ordered a drink from the bar, which due to the venue’s tiny size was less than a metre away from where he was sat.

Daniel told the South West Source: “It’s just totally wrong. You get the council going round and giving us a fine for little incidents when they could be going around and smartening up the town centre or sorting out drink spiking.

“£1000 is massive, it’s pure profit gone. I went without a holiday this summer because I had to pay the fine.

“I feel I have done everything I can. I’m not going to put my staff in jeopardy for the sake of someone standing less than a metre away from their chair in the bar, it’s not worth it.”

The distance between the chairs and the bar is tiny

After emailing the council to explain the situation, Daniel was told they would look into it. But three weeks later, he has still heard nothing.

“You write to them and say there’s been an incident and I don’t want my staff to get hurt, and there’s no response. What more can you do?” he said.

“I’m a small independent business, I’m not a big Wetherspoons. It has been truly difficult and £1,000 is a heck of a lot of money.

“It’s so menial as well, especially after an incident where a staff member got physically and verbally abused.”

By the time the letter with the original fine had arrived at Daniel’s house, lockdown had ended and the rules were back to normal.

Sport Shack said it had to prioritise the safety of its staff

Sport Shack was one of 29 venues in Sheffield that received a fixed penalty notice between January and July this year.

Daniel added: “I will pay a fine if I’m in the wrong, but this is totally out of order. You can see we’re doing our best, we’re getting abused for doing our best, but the council still come and give us a fine.

“There’s enough idiots to deal with. For the council to come and do this to a small business owner is beggar’s belief.”

Sheffield City Council has been approached for a comment.

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