Eleven notices and two fines served on Bedford businesses breaching Covid restrictions

The non-essential businesses were open illegally

Bedford Borough Council’s environmental health team has served 11 prohibition notices and issued two fines to businesses which have stayed open illegally the second national restrictions.

From Thursday, November 5, a number of non-essential businesses were required to close as part of the Government’s measures to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

The council’s environmental health team, alongside the Covid marshals, have undertaken 110 monitoring visits to Bedford businesses after reports they were operating illegally. These businesses have ranged from leisure facilities to licensed premises such as pubs, to car washes.

Eleven notices and two fines have been served on Bedford businesses

Prohibition notices were issued to 11 of these businesses. Two Fixed Penalty Notices were also issued to businesses which refused to close.

If prohibition notices are not complied with or a fixed penalty notice not paid, a business may also be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose potentially unlimited fines.

The council has also been providing advice and support to Bedford businesses during this lockdown to help them understand the regulations, their options during these four weeks, and the support available to help them through this period.

Cllr Colleen Atkins, portfolio holder for community safety and regulatory services, said: “The Government introduced restrictions on the public, businesses and services to reduce the day-to-day contact between people, slow the spread of Covid-19 and so protect the NHS and save lives.

“To date, 11 prohibition notices have been served and two fines issued to businesses that have stayed open illegally.

“We all hope these restrictions will be lifted after Wednesday, December 2, so we can enjoy a busy, productive and safe Christmas period. But that will only happen if we all play our part, and that has to include our local businesses.”

Chief Superintendent John Murphy, leading Bedfordshire Police’s response to coronavirus, said: “Although we appreciate that having to close down a business is difficult for those concerned, we can’t stress enough how important it is that we all have to play our part to help stop the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and to keep ourselves and others safe.

“We don’t take enforcement lightly, however businesses cannot be allowed to break the rules. We will continue to work alongside the local authorities to ensure that they don’t, and we have the power to issue fixed penalty notices to anyone who is found on their premises.”