Businesses are being warned to keep following government guidance to protect their customers after a County Durham barber was fined for being open during lockdown.
Durham County Council’s compliance officers issued a fine to the owner of a barber shop after it was found operating last week.
Working in partnership with officers from Durham Constabulary, council officers immediately issued the shop’s owner with a fine of £1,000, while three customers who were in the shop were fined £200 each for breaking lockdown rules.
The action is part of partnership work between the council and the police to ensure all businesses in the county are operating under the current national guidance, which only allows essential businesses to remain open.
Both the council and police are reminding residents and businesses to continue following these rules which have been put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus and protect people from becoming seriously ill.
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection services, said: “This case should serve as a reminder to businesses to continue to follow the current lockdown rules and government guidance. By operating, you are not only breaking the law and could face a large fine, but you are putting your customers’ safety at risk and in danger of being fined too.
“This is a difficult time for many as we have all been affected by the pandemic, but it is vital that we keep following the current rules to stop the spread of the virus and protect ourselves and others, especially those who are vulnerable. The more we follow the guidance, the sooner restrictions can be lifted and businesses can start to reopen.
“If you are a business owner and are struggling due to the current or past restrictions, please don’t miss out on grants that are available. There are government grants offered to businesses who have been affected by the current national lockdown, as well as our own Durham Business Recovery Grant to help businesses who have been affected by the impact of coronavirus.”
Superintendent Steve Long, from Durham Constabulary, said: “It is almost a year since the start of the pandemic and the vast majority of people are aware of the restrictions and are sticking to them.
“However, those who choose to blatantly or persistently ignore the rules can expect to be dealt with robustly. We will always support partners when they take enforcement action against businesses which flout the rules.”
For more information about current lockdown rules, visit www.durham.gov.uk/coronavirus
Information on available grants, support, and advice for businesses can be found at durham.gov.uk/covid19business.