Five non-essential Sandwell businesses that were open despite Covid-19 restrictions have been ordered to close during a day of enforcement action by Sandwell Council and West Midlands Police.
Nearly 100 Sandwell businesses were visited in total during the day of action last Friday (13 November) – and officers found the vast majority following government restrictions on operating safely.
But five – including two market stalls – one selling non-essential items and one who was trading without a licence, a sports shop, a home furnishings shop and a photography shop were ordered to close after being open illegally. All five businesses agreed to close and to follow rules in future or face a fine.
Businesses which were open legally were also reminded about the law and given advice on how to operate safely and lawfully under the latest coronavirus legislation.
Shoppers were also warned when not wearing face coverings in shops and enclosed spaces where they are required to by law. People were also reminded they shouldn’t gather in groups and should only mix with those they live with or are in a support bubble with. Those in breach of the rules were either asked to leave shops or disperse from groups.
Councillor Maria Crompton, Sandwell Council’s Deputy Leader said: “The joint operation was very successful and we are proud to have such a great partnership with West Midlands Police in Sandwell.
“It is heartening to know the vast majority of people and businesses in Sandwell are adhering to the national government restrictions.
“I want to issue a reminder to those who are not complying with the government restrictions – this is a criminal offence and could result in a fine.
“Thank you to all those who are following the rules. We all need to work together to stop the spread of this awful virus.”
Sergeant Richard Phillips – Police lead for the Sandwell enforcement operations, added: “We wish to thank the vast majority of residents and businesses in Sandwell who are adhering to the national restrictions. Enforcement is a last resort, however where restrictions are being breached we will take appropriate action in order to safeguard the health of our community.”
New government lockdown restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid-19 are in force across the whole of England until Wednesday 2 December 2020. Residents must not leave or be outside of their homes except for specific reasons.
People should not forget the basics – wash hands (keep washing your hands regularly); cover face (wear a face covering in enclosed spaces); Make space (stay at least 2 metres apart – or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions).
People should not meet with people they do not live with and should not have visitors except for essential carers and those in their support bubble.
Businesses which are permitted to remain open or operate with restrictions must ensure they continue to follow the appropriate Covid-19 secure guidance for their sector.