A COMMUNITY café has been forced to close after less than a week of being reopened due to the "laissez faire manner" of some customers.

The Mi'café, which is situated in the Eccleshill Mechanics Institute in Stone Hall Road, reopened to the public last Wednesday (July 15).

A number of safety measures were implemented, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This included, social distancing at two metres, no moving around to chat to other people once seated, no handling of loose change (payments preferred by contactless, or exact money), limited passing of articles between everyone using the building to prevent cross-contamination from person to person and food served and plates cleared in a safe manner.

These measures were "fundamental" to making the space useable and all seemed to be going well until Monday.

The Eccleshill Mechanics Institute posted on its. Facebook page yesterday afternoon to express its disappointment at some users' disregard for the rules. 

The post said: "Following what was thought to be a successful reopening of Mi’café last week, today some users have compromised safety rules which were put in place to protect everyone in the building, whether dining or serving those of you who were using the café.

"A lot of thought went in to how the café could be operational to provide a limited service to those who wanted to use it, additionally, there was expenditure to ensure the procedures which needed to be put in place would work."

Some people were apparently wandering round talking to those away from their own table, while others were allegedly passing things to other people in the building.

There were also those who questioned both the social distancing of two metres and why there was no change, according to the post.

The café has now closed with immediate effect.

The post said: "Everything we did, was done for a reason, that of safety. Your safety.

"Everything we said would be needed was well publicised, we gave everyone who entered the building a Mi’News, an A3 four sided handout, it was put on our public notice board.

"As a result of some people not wanting to abide by safety rules we have no other alternative but to close the café with immediate effect".

There were a number of customers who successfully complied with all the regulations, and Eccleshill Mechanics Institute apologised to those people.

The post added: "But we will not put those who are trying to serve you, or other users, at risk.

"We will reconsider operational matters in the coming weeks and see how we can police the café opening whilst ensuring the rules that are put in place are adhered to.

"The café will only be reopened when we can assure everyone using the facility that it is as safe as it can be to open – users not abiding by safety rules makes it unsafe at this time.

"The seriousness of this virus does not seem to be registering with some people, it is invisible, it is killing people, it is not something that can be treated in a laissez faire manner."