Obey the rules or we face a local lockdown in Shropshire, health boss warns

A Shropshire health chief has warned that the county could follow other areas in facing tougher lockdown measures if businesses do not comply with the restrictions in place.

Shropshire's director of public health has warned of a tougher lockdown if businesses don't comply with the rules
Shropshire's director of public health has warned of a tougher lockdown if businesses don't comply with the rules

Rachel Robinson, director of public health at Shropshire Council, said the area could follow authorities such as Birmingham, Sandwell and Wolverhampton in being subject to a stricter, localised lockdown if people did not comply with the rules.

She warned: “There is a very real risk that if businesses and the public do not help us get this right, Shropshire will be in the same position as other areas and we will be dealing with local lockdown restrictions.

"Clearly, none of us want this, and I urge everyone to comply with the public health measures that are in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus."

The authority's trading standards chief added that businesses failing to comply would be liable for on-the-spot fines of up to £4,000.

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Under new rules announced last week, businesses such as hairdressers, barbers, beauticians and tattooists must recall all customer, staff and visitor details. Sports and massage therapists, youth centres and community and village halls must also now comply with these rules.

These rules were already in place for the hospitality industry, and each individual must provide personal contact details which must be stored for 21 days, and if requested, shared with NHS or public health officials. The Prime Minister further announced yesterday that pubs and restaurants will only be allowed to provide table service.

These businesses must also take all reasonable measures to ensure their customers follow social distancing requirements and not allow groups of more than six people to be admitted to their premises, unless they can demonstrate they are from the same 'social bubble'.

Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing operations manager, said while the council was committed to helping businesses and organisations get back to normal, it could not ignore the fact that the spread of the virus was still increasing.

“We cannot afford to get complacent and must continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus," she said.

"While our officers have responded, and will continue to respond, in a proportionate and pragmatic way to the coronavirus requirements, I must stress that businesses will now be committing criminal offences if they fail to comply with the latest rules. We will take robust enforcement action where businesses are ignoring their responsibilities. We have the power to issue fixed penalties for breaches and, in the most serious cases, this can be as much as £4,000.”

Councillor Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “We have seen the restrictions that have been introduced in other areas in the West Midlands. We want to prevent this happening in Shropshire and we all have a responsibility to do our bit. The council recognises that the latest legislation creates significant obligations on businesses and, as a result, I urge all of the public to act responsibly and to do their utmost to help businesses comply with these latest legal requirements.”

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