Council shuts down takeaway cafe for being too popular with people on walks

A cafe serving take away coffees has been closed down by the council for being too popular.

Grandpa Greene's in Diggle, Saddleworth, Greater Manchester has been told its large number of visitors is 'potentially creating a serious public health risk.'

Owner Rick Scholes and his team admitted that they have struggled at times with "levels of custom that exceeded our expectation."

It is believed a that a major issue with the cafe being open is the number of people travelling long distances to visit the walker hot spot.

In a lengthy statement issued to the MEN, Grandpa Greene's said they have imposed extra measures including having four 'COVID Marshals' on site, social distancing markers and issuing leaflets on the procedures that are in place to help control crowds.

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They point out that only last summer, Oldham Council attended the premises with a national news broadcaster to illustrate how businesses can be run safely during the pandemic.

Reacting to the closure order issued by the council, they added: "We have just about survived what has been the most difficult year for businesses, despite losing 70% of our custom relating to wholesale ice cream and events.

"To now be told we can’t open on our two main trading days is simply devastating."

Oldham Council confirmed Grandpa Greene's has been working cooperating with officers to try and address the issue of people gathering at the cafe – but they now have to take action.

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In a press release, the council said Grandpa Greene's must stay shut at the weekends until at least March 4.

The closure order will be reviewed every seven days.

Councillor Arooj Shah, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and Cabinet Member for COVID-19 Response, said: “Our staff have visited Grandpa Greene’s on a number of occasions, and the business owners have worked with us.

“But over the last few weeks we’ve received numerous complaints about large numbers of people congregating around the site and not social distancing – potentially helping to spread coronavirus and therefore creating a clear threat to public health.

“Everyone must follow the restrictions, or you could be putting lives at risk.

“One of the main issues here is people travelling from outside the area to visit, which means it is getting really busy at weekends.

“Having looked at the evidence available to us again and having taken advice from Public Health colleagues we have now taken the decision to close the business on Saturday and Sundays.

“We never want to close any business, however, if we didn’t act then we would have been failing in our duty to protect staff, customers and the wider community."

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