Councils across the UK have been making use of prohibition orders and fixed penalty notices under the brand new Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 – mostly against pubs that refuse to close.
In Ceredigion, a pub landlord was served with a prohibition order under the new Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 after being discovered serving customers on 27 March.
Public protection officers from Ceredigion County Council were called to the pub, which the council has decided not to name, after it was found to be open. Police were also called and the pub was shut immediately.
The council has inspected more than 70 local businesses since the shutdown. It said most have closed voluntarily.
Carwen Evans, the council’s corporate manager for public protection, said: “We were fulfilling our duties in protecting public health. Members of the public needed to be reminded that everyone has a part to play.
In Powys, meanwhile, the council’s EH team has served three prohibition notices and two fixed penalty notices to three pubs that refused to close.
“It's extremely disappointing that some businesses want to risk the lives of the people of Powys by staying open,” said James Evans, cabinet member for economic development, housing and regulatory services. "We were left with no option but to take enforcement action against these three premises after they continued to ignore the measures.”
He added that the council is supporting business during the lockdown but will take action against those that disregard the new measures.
In Tiptree, near Colchester, a pub that covered up its front windows but let customers in the back was issued with a prohibition order by Colchester Borough Council. In Harrogate, too, a pub received a prohibition order for continuing to serve customers.
Other businesses have also breached the new regulations. A vape shop in Kidderminster was served with a prohibition notice, claiming it had remained open while waiting for police guidance on whether to close because some of its products are registered as medicines.
And a bitter row has broken out between the owner of Plants Galore, a Devon garden centre company, and Exeter City Council after the council issued one of the company’s branches a prohibition notice. Tony Joyner told the Times that his prohibition order allowed him to stay open to sell hardware but no other products such as plants and seeds. However, he said he needed to sell his perishable plants or his company would go bankrupt. He added: “The entire UK horticultural industry is in despair. We are not closing whatever the government does.”