New power to shut businesses for week and fine them £4,000

Municipalities will be given new powers to shut down businesses for up to a week if they fail to make their premises Covid-safe, Downing Street said.

The government will legislate to enable local authorities to “act quickly and effectively” against buildings that pose a risk to public health.

Businesses can be fined up to £ 4,000 for violating a restriction notice, requiring buildings to be closed for 48 hours or seven days.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said during a briefing in Westminster: “Until now, local authorities have been able to impose fines on companies that have failed to comply with legal obligations to be Covid safe.

“The new powers will allow them to formally request rapid improvement or close these buildings through notifications where necessary.

“These will include a coronavirus improvement message giving the buildings 48 hours to quickly implement Covid-safe measures; an immediate coronavirus mitigation notice that closes all buildings posing a risk to public health for the first 48 hours in order to allow time to take the necessary precautions; and a coronavirus restriction notice that the property will close for seven days. “

The spokesman said the property will be fined £ 2,000 for violating a notice of improvement and £ 4,000 for violating a restriction notice.

According to the government’s winter plan for the coronavirus, a “small number” of companies are operating in an unsafe manner, “jeopardizing” progress in managing the pandemic.

“Local authorities have told the government that the current powers are inadequate and will not allow them to enforce the law,” the plan said, published Monday.

It added, “Local authorities will be given streamlined powers to issue improvement and restriction notices to companies that violate Covid-secure rules, with the ability to force the immediate closure of any property that does not comply with Covid-secure rules. secure rules.

“These new powers will enable the local authorities of the upper and lower echelons to take swift and effective action against areas that pose a risk to public health.

“Businesses will also face financial penalties for failing to comply with the requirements of a notice of improvement or restriction from a local government.

“The government is clear that these powers should only be used where necessary and proportionate, and by trained enforcers from local authorities.

“Local authorities will continue the approach they have taken so far; engage, educate and encourage buildings to comply, and only take enforcement action to address the most pressing public health risks. “