A BELFAST pub is today toasting victory after being given the green light to resume its door-to-door Guinness delivery service, following legal action against the police.
Hatfield House had been providing one of the rare bright spots to life in lockdown until last month, when it was forced to suspend operations.
Prior to that, staff had been delivering freshly-poured pints of Irish stout via a specially fitted van while wearing protective gloves and plastic glasses.
The no-contact service saw pints delivered promptly to customer’s doorsteps.
It was a service that not only raised a smile among Irish Post readers, but provided a welcome tonic to many cocooning through lockdown and unable to see friends and family.
One 90-year-old man, Jim McMahon, even went viral after his daughter arranged for a pint of the black stuff to be delivered to him.
But what seemed like a fun and entirely safe way for the pub to continue serving customers and spreading a little cheer was soon shut down after police intervened amid concerns the service breached licensing legislation.
Eager to get things up and running again the owners of the Ormeau Road-based bar launched a High Court challenge.
Now an agreement between the pub and police has been reached that will see the draught beer delivery service back up and running across Belfast.
Hatfield House confirmed the news on Facebook, writing: "PINTS ARE UNPAUSED!!!
"Massive thanks to everyone who has helped us over the last 8 weeks and an even bigger thanks to all our staff who collectively agreed to reduce their hours to save our Hatfield family “GO TEAM HATFIELD”
"The PINT MAN is back and ready to deliver freshly poured pints of Guinness directly to your door"
While a final conclusion is expected to be confirmed in the next few weeks, Hatfield House has been given the green light to get the Guinness flowing again with police confirming they are “now satisfied” a number of issues have been addressed.
Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts said:
“The public will be aware that in this unprecedented time of national health emergency, the priority for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has been protecting and supporting our communities, keeping people safe and highlighting the importance of adhering to the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations NI 2020.
“A number of weeks ago we became aware of a Belfast Licensee offering a draught beer home delivery service. At that time, we identified a number of issues with this proposal and advised the Licensee that it was not compliant with Article 3 of the Licensing (Northern Ireland) Order 1996. The Licensee discontinued the service at that time.
“It is important to highlight that this is a very complex matter as any such service needs to satisfy a number of legislative requirements in addition to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 including, in particular, the Licensing (Northern Ireland) Order 1996; the Sale of Goods Act 1979, Health and Safety and Road Traffic legislation.
“During this period, the PSNI has engaged in ongoing discussions with the Licensee and their legal representatives in relation to this facility.
“PSNI are now satisfied that with the development and implementation of changes in the service and appropriate undertakings in respect of insurance and health and safety legislation and bespoke terms and conditions of sale, this service could comply with the applicable legislation.
“While PSNI and our licencing officers across Northern Ireland are happy to work with any licensees considering introducing a similar service, we would advise them to ensure that any such proposed service meets all current legislative requirements and they have the correct licence in place.”