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Public Apology - Guide Dogs Are ABSOLUTELY Welcome

On Tuesday 15th May I wrongly turned away a group of people which included an individual with a guide dog. I would like to express my deep regret to that individual (and the wider community) about my lack of understanding of the Equality Act 2010 (EA) and how it relates to the rights of individuals to bring their guide dogs into my restaurant. An unacceptable oversight which I have now, I hope, rectified by not only bringing myself up to speed (and I do appreciate I should have already done this) but also by providing updated training to all my staff.

I would also like to say that my turning the individual away was by no means related to any conscious discrimination, malicious intent or ill feeling towards them and that I genuinely believed (at the time) that I was doing the right and legal thing by adhering to the Health and Safety Act which states that, as a restaurant owner, I cannot allow domestic animals into a place where food is prepared, stored, served, etc. Obviously, I now know that this does not apply to guide dogs.

I hope that, through this apology, the party I turned away and the wider local community can find it in their hearts to forgive my lack of understanding and ignorance of the Equality Act. Although I can completely understand and sympathise with the enormous  backlash directed towards me and my restaurant, I also hope, we can move forward from this in a positive way.

If there is one positive thing that can be taken from this then hopefully it is that, through the enormous response, there is now a much wider knowledge and clarification of the Equality Act for other restaurant owners who may also have been unaware of their obligations to guide dog owners.

Again, my very sincere apologies,

Mr Allam

Restaurant Owner