London food market Mercato Metropolitano has thanked its supporters after police reversed a decision to close one of its sites for allegedly breaking the 10pm curfew.
The venue announced yesterday (3 November) that its market in Elephant and Castle had been shut down by police due to customers leaving the premises at 10.07pm on Monday evening.
The move, which came 48 hours before the market will have to close under England's national lockdown rules, sparked backlash on social media.
But Mercato Metropolitano said today (4 November) that police had reversed the decision.
The market said in a statement: "Thanks to your incredible solidarity and messages of support yesterday, you've shown once again the strength of a united community.
"Today the officers from the Metropolitan Police have come to our premises and informed us about their decision to overturn yesterday's order for immediate closure.
"Yesterday's incident was the reaction of an over-zealous individual which we knew was not representative of the standard policies of either the Metropolitan Police or Southwark Council.
"We are grateful that we have another day of opportunity to serve our community before the lockdown, and we sincerely thank Metropolitan Police, Southwark Council and the mayor of London for enabling us to do so. We are all working for the greater good of this community, and we know our collaboration and support will grow even stronger with time."
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told The Caterer: "On 2 November, police on routine patrol at 22:00hrs noticed a large number of people at a licensed premises on Newington Causeway, SE1.
"Officers engaged with the managers of the venue and advised them of the current coronavirus restrictions. It was clear at the time that the venue would not be able to close on time. Officers assisted with the closure of the venue on the night.
"On 3 November, officers returned to the address and spoke to the owners of the venue who were reported for consideration for a fixed penalty notice. Enquiries are ongoing with the venue and officers will be giving guidance on how they may be able to stay open, in line with the new restrictions which come in tomorrow."
The controversial 10pm curfew has been in place since 24 September as part of a government bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, but hospitality operators have questioned its effectiveness and strict enforcement.
Bim's burger restaurant in Ilford, east London, was fined £1,000 after handing a customer an order four minutes after 10pm, while chef Anna Haugh told The Caterer she was unable to let guests shelter from the rain while they waited for taxis after receiving a warning from the local authority.
Mercato Metropolitano was founded in Milan in 2015 and runs two London food markets, in Elephant and Castle and Mayfair.