Artist News Legal

Rita Ora party restaurant may lose licence

By | Published on Friday 29 January 2021

Rita Ora

Rita Ora’s team offered London restaurant Casa Cruz £5000 to breach COVID-19 regulations in order to hold her 30th birthday party there last year. This has emerged during a hearing to decide whether to revoke the venue’s licence.

The party was held on 28 Nov, at a time when COVID restrictions meant meeting people from different households indoors was not allowed. In a statement made in the days following the party, Ora said that the decision to attend the “small gathering … was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK”.

It later emerged that, at the time of the event, Ora should also have been in the middle of isolating for two weeks, having just returned from Egypt, where she had played a private performance.

At yesterday’s hearing, Casa Cruz general manager Scottie Bhattarai said that he had been contacted about holding the party on the day it took place. The committee hearing was told that he had been offered £5000.

In a statement to police, Bhattarai said that despite knowing hosting such an event would be against the rules, he had agreed to the deal “because he was greedy”.

At its peak, there were said to have been between fifteen and 20 people at the event. The police added that they attended Casa Cruz at 9pm, about two hours after the party started, but “were not afforded access”. They also say that, two days later, they found that CCTV footage from the venue had been deleted.

Casa Cruz is accused of breaching its licensing agreement by refusing police entry and failing to provide CCTV footage. It is also alleged that fire exits had been blocked during the party, which is a breach of health and safety regulations.

A decision on whether or not to revoke the restaurant’s licence is yet to be made. Its owners said that they fired Bhattarai following the party, and had upgraded the CCTV system to prevent tampering.

Ora has not commented on the hearing.