Original article from Kent Live
A Dover restaurant has been told to stop using outdoor dining pods due to coronavirus rules.
The Swingate Inn & Namaste Restaurant installed the outdoor pods in its garden, which had been a big hit with the public.
The pods were positioned in the restaurant's bubble and were open for booking by families and bubbles.
However, a complaint from the public saw Dover District Council reach out to the restaurant and ask them to cease operation in the pods.
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Restaurant owner Sumit Patel said the pods had been in use for three weeks and the team was unaware of any potential issues.
He said: "I got a long email from Dover Council saying a member of the public had complained about us using pods.
"I was asked to send them photos of our and Covid procedures, which I did. Then we were told that we can't use them because we don't leave them 50% open.
"We weren't even getting into the pods, we rolled the sides up and only put food in. We don't go into the pod, it's just their household or bubble.
"The council told us to stop, we did stop. I don't want to break rules.
"That was a Monday and then on Tuesday, we got another email saying a member of the public had complained that we used our pods again… we don't even work on a Tuesday."
Sumit spoke of his "amazing customer base" and the support from well-wishing locals who were quick to book places in the pods.
Leaving reviews on TripAdvisor, recent diners had labelled the new scheme as 'brilliant'.
One wrote: "Amazing as usual. Food superb, staff always a pleasure. Great sitting in the garden in PODs. So glad to be back guys. Takeaways are amazing, but nothing quite beats coming to visit guys…. well done!"
Another said: "What a brilliant idea to have your own pod bubble in the garden, this is actually superb as you can hear yourself talk and the music is not too loud, the setting is lovely and especially the fire pit outside, it is even better when it gets dark and your individual pod lights take effect.
"Oh, and by the way the food is superb and the service very good. Will we come here again most certainly and hopefully they keep the pods once normality resumes. Thank you for a wonderful evening."
The restaurant had opened just from Thursday to Saturday to work with the financial strains left from months closed, but are now "back to square one" according to Sumit.
Speaking about the closure of the Swingate Inn & Namaste, Dover District Council said: "We can confirm that we received a complaint regarding the use of enclosed pods, which under current government guidance are not permitted.
"Therefore we have worked with the business to ensure that Covid secure measures can be reached. It is anticipated that from 17 May, such pods will be permitted as an outside eating area."