Greenock pub slammed for ignoring closure rules

Cheers pub Greenock

Greenock venue 'Cheers' remained open for business on the weekend despite government orders to close their doors.  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the owners "put lives at risk" by choosing to remain open.

The pub's owner Ian Ellis chose to defy the rules and continued to serve customers during the ban.  Police received several calls from concerned members of the public.  He told social media followers "We’re going to stay open until it becomes unsafe to do so or we’re forced to close."

Cheers pub Greenock

Police Scotland attended the venue early on Saturday evening to deal with a brawl that broke out and made one arrest.

A video circulated on social media, showing the fight outside the pub and a police van turning up to deal with the incident.

Another video was shared showing a member of the public confronting the owner, Mr Ellis outside the bar.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter "My thanks to the vast majority of pubs that have complied with the request to close.  I’m seeing some suggestions on here that a small minority might not be complying.  If that’s true, make no mistake...  Lives are at risk as a result.  Please do the right thing now."

A spokesperson for Inverclyde Council said "The owner of this bar needs to start complying immediately.  He’s potentially putting his customers and staff in danger.

"Worse than that he is also putting every person his customers and staff then come into contact with in danger."

One concerned member of the public told the Greenock Telegraph, "This pub is a disgrace and should lose its licence over this.

"To ignore all these dire warnings is crass stupidity and sheer greed.  The management and people in there drinking away should be ashamed of themselves."

Several police vans returned to the venue on Sunday afternoon to force the pub to close down.  Ten punters were escorted from the bar by police officers at around 12.30pm, according to reports.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said "We can confirm we enforced an emergency closure notice under the Licensing Scotland Act on a licensed premises in West Stewart Street, Greenock, on the grounds of public safety following reports of disorder at the premises around 6pm on 21 March."

Emergency powers have now been given to devolved administrations, which will allow the Scottish Government to forcibly close down pubs that refuse to comply with the new rules.

Cheers bar has so far refused to comment on the situation.

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