City of Wolverhampton Council is taking a tougher stance on enforcement action against businesses that are flouting coronavirus restrictions in response to the high number of Covid-19 cases in the city.
130 reports of business non-compliance have been reported to the authority after council leader, Cllr Ian Brookfield, urged local people to report Covid-19 rule-breaking in shops, businesses and workplaces last week.
The council has gone on to serve 10 prohibition notices to businesses ignoring national restrictions and placing the public at risk since the appeal went out.
Four fixed penalty fines have been served on businesses to encourage compliance with national restrictions, including a £1,000 fine being issued to the sole director of a furniture company for breaching a prohibition notice.
Council environmental health officers are assessing all reports of potential rule-breaking and will continue to work closely with local businesses and large retailers to offer support and guidance in maintaining COVID safe environments.
The council, working in partnership with West Midlands Police, will continue to use a joint enforcement approach to ensure businesses are operating safely and in line with current restrictions.
The council’s team of Covid support advisors (CSA’s) have inspected almost 2000 business and some have been visited more than once, giving a grand total of 2662 compliance inspections at businesses across the city.
Any concerns raised at the inspections or complaints received by the public are investigated by environmental health officers who have the power to take enforcement action.
Councillor Steve Evans, City of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment, said: “The public have responded to our call to tell us about any business or workplace which they are concerned is not following the lockdown rules and I want to thank them for that and encourage them to keep doing so.
“We are investigating 130 complaints on top of the routine inspections and visits our teams do each day. Our priority is keeping people safe and I am pleased that the vast majority of businesses are doing the right thing during this time of national emergency.
“Wherever people think that the law does not apply to them, we will not hesitate to take action as evidenced by the prohibition notices and fines we have given out.
“We know that this is not an easy time for businesses, nobody wants to be in the position we are in. We are providing as much support as we can to advise businesses as to what the rules are and if they are allowed to open, how they can safely do so.”
People can report any business in Wolverhampton which they suspect of breaking lockdown rules via www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidreport-it