Business Closure Enforcement


6 April 2020

By Elizabeth Bradshaw

Social Media has become full of posts about Covid 19. Some show human kindness and make light of a particularly low and strange time for the Economy. Other posts start a social war of opinion.

One of the common themes is the implementations of the Government advice and how it is interpreted. It is fair to say that often the war of words in because everyone's personal circumstances are different and in the last few days there is a divide in opinion from those who are employed and those that are self-employed. Many posts are from business owners trying to come up with new ideas to keep a business going during these hard times, pay the bills and retain staff. However, some of the advice and guidance has been ignored and therefore enforcement is becoming a subject that Local Authorities are now being expected to tackle.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards will cover general (non-food) consumer product safety. It will not cover vehicles, medicines and medical devices, or workplace equipment, which are already covered by other agencies.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards has written to all Local Authorities which makes it clear that “The Secretary of State has enabled all local authorities to designate officers to enforce the Regulations and has designated all local authorities to take criminal proceedings. This means that all local authorities in England (District, County and Unitary authorities) and their designated officers have powers to act.”

It provides Local Authorities with a template Prohibition Notice for those that fail to adhere to the regulations but they are yet to publish guidance on the issuing of fixed penalty notices.

In the interim a Local Authority must:

1.Understand the requirements for business closures and restrictions

2.Designate officers to enforce the requirements

3. Work out how you are going to get information out to your local businesses

4. Be ready to answer questions from businesses

5. Work out local enforcement arrangements with other local authorities and with the Police

6. Tackle failures to comply

The new regulations, rules, advice, guidance and law are often complex subjects to understand and objectively assess how it affects you. Should you receive a notice or letter or be worrying about how your business could be affected then you may wish to consider advice as to how you can stay within the boundaries of any regulations that affect you and still continue to earn an income.

For more information…

Contact Gemma Lee, who can assist with all matters regarding business closures and enforcement. 

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.