COUNCILLORS and officers at Shropshire Council have called on businesses in the county to ‘step up’ by not trading if they are not allowed to.
After complaints from councillors and residents concerning businesses who were bending rules to remain open during the second lockdown, officers have joined with Cabinet members to remind people they need to follow the rules.
Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing operations manager, says there are concerns around showrooms – such as bathrooms among others – that are open to people or offering appointments.
She says they do not want to close them, but wants them to trade safely without opening a showroom.
“We do understand that these are extremely challenging times and we want to reassure businesses that we will support them to comply with the restrictions,” she said.
“However, the current serious position means that many businesses are required to close, and we have a duty to enforce those restrictions to protect people’s lives.
“I urge all those businesses that must remain closed to do so, and to avoid trying to find ways to circumvent the requirements. For the restrictions to be effective in Shropshire, there is a significant need for robust ‘collective compliance’.
“To achieve this requires a desire by everyone, including businesses, to think seriously about how they act, behave and operate, and to consider how this helps to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing behaviours that are unhelpful and that undermine the purpose of the restrictions, where businesses are focussing their efforts on finding loopholes or attempting to ‘shoehorn’ themselves into an exemption, to avoid the restrictions that require them to close. It is essential that all businesses play their part in limiting interactions between people.
“I want to thank all those businesses that have closed and have followed the rules, and for those that are permitted to open, for their efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and ask that they continue to take this responsibility seriously.”
Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, added: “The protection of the health and safety of the public is our number one priority, but everyone has a responsibility.
“It is crucial that business premises that are not permitted to open do remain closed, and those that can trade do so only if they can ensure their premises are safe to protect staff and customers from the spread of coronavirus.
“The current lockdown restrictions apply, both indoors and outdoors, including in private homes/gardens, public spaces and in business premises, and there is a significant onus on individuals and businesses to comply with the restrictions.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that coronavirus is a highly infectious virus and it thrives on contact between people. If the restrictions are not followed, the risk to individuals and our NHS is extremely high.”
Further advice can be sought, and Covid-19 concerns can be reported to Shropshire Council by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0345 678 9067 and select option 3.