Pubs and businesses could be prosecuted or lose their licence if they don’t stick to strict lockdown rules and close up shop during the coronavirus emergency.
Tameside council are warning that companies found to be breaching the shutdown regulations for ‘non key’ businesses imposed by the government are facing a visit from enforcement officers.
A spokesperson for the town hall said it has already received a ‘number of complaints’ that officers are following up in partnership with Greater Manchester Police.
And members of the public are being encouraged to report businesses found to be flouting the Covid-19 rules directly to the licensing department.
It comes as police forces across the UK hit out at pubs continuing to trade through ‘lock-ins’ and said they were putting their licences at risk – as well as their patrons’ health.
The council is also investigating whether it can intervene in cases of ‘price gouging’, where the cost of goods is hiked to an unreasonable level.
Across the country, people have been complaining that items such as hand sanitiser and hand wash have become increasingly expensive as stocks shrink.
The Tameside council spokesperson said they are trying to inform and educate businesses about their responsibilities, and they are investigating complaints of price hikes.
Officers also may be able to take action against price gougers under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations legislation.
“Environmental health officers and trading standards officers in Tameside are following up on all complaints and intelligence of relevant businesses that remain open and are breaching the regulations,” they said.
“If businesses continue to trade they will be visited and appropriate enforcement action taken.
“This may involve the service of a prohibition notice under the Health Protection (coronavirus Business Closure) Regulations 2020 which will be followed up where necessary with prosecution and or license reviews.
“We expect most businesses to comply but we have received a number of complaints that we are following up.”
Council leader Brenda Warrington said: “Although we know the vast majority of businesses are responsible and are being totally compliant of the rules, we are aware of a small minority who have not taken them on board.
“I cannot express strongly enough how serious the situation is and how important these measures are to protect the local community and help try to tackle this pandemic.
“I realise this is a challenging time for businesses and want to thank all those who have acted responsibly in response to the new government rules and measures.
“For those who haven’t – we will be taking further action.”
Here the full interview with Council leader Brenda Warrington below:
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