UPDATE: Report on decision can be found here.

A SOUTHAMPTON restaurant which breached of Covid-19 rules will this morning learn its fate as councillors debate whether the eatery should have its licence pulled.

A number of people were found “drinking” at the Cattle Steakhouse in Hanover Buildings  on January 24 while the city - as well as the rest of the country - was in lockdown.

According to official documents for the meeting that will be held at 10am this morning, some of those at the venue left through the back door as soon as police arrived.

Officers were told that staff members were "working on a new menu".

However, Hampshire Constabulary says that those at the venue were not socially distanced and none of them were wearing face masks.

Daily Echo: Cattle Steakhouse, Southampton. Photo from: Google Maps

Managers at Cattle Steakhouse said the incident should have not happened and stressed it was not a planned event.

The police are now asking Southampton City Council to suspend the venue’s licence for three months and remove supervisor Nazim Ahmed from his post.

The final decision will be taken by the Licensing Sub-Committee in a meeting set to be held on March 31.

In a report published ahead of the meeting, PC Mark Hawley, from Hampshire Constabulary, said: “Despite being caught with customers in the venue, drinking, eating and generally socialising, not one of the five persons, customers or staff are seen wearing face masks, consumption is clearly taking part within and for some unknown reason they are smoking inside.

"It is clear to me that this is a social event between the staff and persons within, it is more than just regular customers.

"I have never been to a venue where I have had to depart through a back door upon sight of the police and my experience of this as a police officer is that wrong was being done.”

But in a statement, bosses at Cattle Steakhouse said: “The incident that took place was not a planned event, nor invited guests, these were regular customers who had walked in to order food for takeaway.”

According to Cattle Steakhouse, the customers were then invited to try the new menu for free.

The company said the incident should have not happened, adding: “There was no licensing activities taking place at the venue, there was no alcohol being served or being drunk, no food was being eaten in the lounge. 

"I just want to state this is not licensing activities that has been breached to the best of my knowledge.”