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Coronavirus: Seen a business open that shouldn’t be? Report it to the council

PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 March 2020

Many businesses in Barking must remain closed under the latest government guidance. Picture: LBBD

Many businesses in Barking must remain closed under the latest government guidance. Picture: LBBD

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If you see a business open that shouldn’t be, report it.

That’s the message from Barking and Dagenham Council, which has powers to shut down rogue businesses in the borough that have ignored government orders to close amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlimited fines can also be issued by enforcement officers to businesses that refuse to close, the council warned.

Following guidance from the government on March 23, many businesses should now be closed to help stop the deadly virus spreading and the council is asking for the community’s help to enforce this.

The only businesses that are allowed to remain open are supermarkets and food shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, launderettes and dry cleaners, garages, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops, newsagents, post offices and banks.

Councillor Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, said: “We’re facing one of the greatest public health emergencies of modern times and we need to all pull together as a community to beat it.

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“Unfortunately, that does mean some businesses having to temporarily close.

“If you see any of the businesses open that shouldn’t be, you need to let the council know, as we have the powers to enforce and close the business down.”

Essential businesses that stay open must make sure there is two metres of separation between people in the premises and in any queues outside, in line with government guidance on social distancing.

Businesses such as takeaway shops must not have seating available for customers inside or outside - regardless of whether it owns the seating.

Cllr Mullane added: “We must not allow businesses to risk people’s health in a situation like this.

“However, we know this is only a small majority of people, and the council and I are so pleased with the response from the community - together we will get through this.”

Email covidabuse@lbbd.gov.uk to report a business that is open when it shouldn’t be.

Visit https://www.lbbd.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19 for the latest coronavirus information from the council, including advice for businesses.

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