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Council threatens tough action

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Dudley Council “will not think twice” about taking legal action against any licenced premises choosing to defy the rules says council boss.

Dudley Council is issuing a warning to any pub, club or bar, which continues to open their doors and serve the public.

The national Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 makes it an offence for many types of businesses including pubs, clubs and bars to stay open in the current pandemic, and allow authorities to take tough action against any premises in breach of the rules.

In spite of the widely publicised instruction to close, Dudley Council has received reports that some borough premises are defying the regulations and staying open or in some cases having ‘lock ins’ for locals, therefore encouraging people to defy the social distancing guidelines.

The council’s environmental health and trading standards officers will be working with the local police and licensing enforcement officers to enforce these regulations.

Compliance visits are being made across the borough and any premises found to be in breach will be served with a prohibition notice, which if not complied with will result in prosecution with unlimited fines, as well as loss of licence. Fixed penalty fines are also being issued which double in amount for each subsequent offence.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member responsible for public health and wellbeing, said:

This is uncharted territory for us all but the instruction is very clear, we must stay at home. We all need to play our part in the fight against coronavirus.
It is unbelievable that a week since pubs, clubs and bars were told to close that some are still defying the rules. These businesses and the people using them are risking their own lives and the lives of others.
We will not think twice about acting against those premises who think the rules don’t apply to them. This is a final warning to them all.
Any premises found to be in breach in Dudley borough will not only face legal action but also the revocation of their alcohol licence, meaning that the business will be closed permanently.
Anyone with information about premises in breach of the regulations can report it confidentially to Dudley Council Plus on 0300 555 2345.

Last week Dudley Council announced a raft of measures that will be put in place to support businesses affected by the current crisis. This includes a full year of 100 percent business rate relief for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses. Further information about support for businesses can be found at https://www.dudleybusinessfirst.org.uk/covid-19-business-guidance

The closure rules apply to a wide range of businesses including pubs, clubs, restaurants, leisure and community facilities, places of worship, hairdressers and barbers, beauty and nail salons, hotels and holiday accommodation.

For a full list of businesses ordered to close and exceptions, along with details on the government’s financial support for businesses go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance

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