Hundreds of people queuing outside Yorkshire nightclub during coronavirus pandemic blasted by MP

An MP has criticised the people queuing to get into a West Yorkshire nightclub just hours after the government ordered pubs and clubs to close.
People queuing to get into The Acapulco Club on Friday during the coronavirus crisis. Photo taken by Rebecca Caswell.People queuing to get into The Acapulco Club on Friday during the coronavirus crisis. Photo taken by Rebecca Caswell.
People queuing to get into The Acapulco Club on Friday during the coronavirus crisis. Photo taken by Rebecca Caswell.

A photo shared on social media, which was taken at 9.25pm on Friday, shows huge queues of young people waiting to get The Acapulco Club in Halifax.

Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had ordered pubs, clubs, bars, cafes and restaurants to close completely from midnight.Mr Johnson acknowledged that people may be tempted to go out before the measures were introduced - but said "please don't".

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Sharing the photograph on Twitter, Holly Lynch, the Labour MP for Halifax, expressed her disappointment at the people queuing.

She said: "This is unbelievably disappointing. I will be speaking to licensing colleagues at Calderdale Council immediately.

"For those queuing you are not just putting yourselves at risk but anyone you might later come into contact with, parents, grandparents, anyone who might be vulnerable."

Staff at the family-run nightclub Acapulco had announced on Thursday that it would be the last weekend that the club was open - before measures were announced to enforce closures.

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In the statement, they said the move was to "save lives" and that people's health was "more important than profit."

Simon Jackson, owner of The Acapulco Club, told the Yorkshire Post today that the club has closed and will remain closed.

He added that the staff had put measures in place to ensure people's safety on Friday night.

Mr Jackson said: "Firstly, we want to tell people that the club is definitely not open today.

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"As a company, we actually decided last week that this weekend would be our last - this decision was made before the prime minister gave any sort of indication that he wanted pubs and clubs to close.

"We decided to close because we believed it was the safest thing to do for our staff, their families and the town of Halifax. We made this decision despite many other pubs and clubs refusing to close.

"However, we are a very busy, family-owned club and employ around 70 staff. We didn't want to close suddenly and leave them without a job - we wanted to pay the salaries as long as we could. This was before the chancellor announced that there would be financial help.

"We thought it was fair to try to give the staff a little bit of notice so they can get things in order because the reality is that this weekend could be their last wage for months.

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"We announced to the public that it would be our last weekend open and urged people to be safe and not to venture out.

"The government's announcement came late on Friday when staff were already expecting to work and many people would already be on their way to town.

"If it had of been earlier then we would have closed immediately but it was too last minute.

"We worked with the police and said we would discourage people from staying late and play long section of slow music to try make crowds disperse in an orderly manner. The police were happy with the measures we took.

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"We also took precautions like extra hand sanitiser inside the club and taking people's temperatures before they were allowed in. Anyone who was sick was not allowed in.

Mr Jackson added: "Like most other clubs and pubs across the country, we stayed open on Friday and closed up for good when the night ended. We will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

"We will not reopen until the government says it is safe to do so.

"We think Boris Johnson and the government are doing an amazing job in these difficult and unbelievable circumstances.

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"We urge all of our wonderful staff and customers to stay safe and try to look after each other, especially the older or weaker people within our community.

"Only buy the essentials you need and give those more vulnerable the opportunity to shop for what they need, when they need it.

"Hopefully in the not too distant future, when things are back to normal, we will be seeing your smiling faces once again."