Portsmouth City Council has set out its no-nonsense approach towards breaches of coronavirus regulations in its new framework for delivering covid-security within the city’s businesses. While the police are responsible for ensuring members of the public follow coronavirus safety rules, Portsmouth City Council has authority over regulation enforcement in business settings.
The council is using a variety of tools to meet its enforcement responsibilities, such as spot checks at businesses within the city, the rollout of a new reporting tool on its website, so members of the public can flag potential breaches, and the introduction of covid business compliance officers in Portsmouth in the coming weeks, following the announcement of government funding to support these roles.
The council will continue to respond to breaches of regulations and deliver swift enforcement action in cases of non-compliance – this could be in the form of a fixed penalty notice, restricting access to businesses, or even closing premises if necessary in order to limit the spread of coronavirus. They will investigate concerns raised through the online reporting tool quickly and take action if a business is found to be breaking safety legislation.
To date, Portsmouth City Council has received 150 of reports of possible breaches of coronavirus legislation in city businesses. The team has also identified a small number of breaches from spot checks. These relate mainly to bars and food outlets. All of these cases have been investigated with warnings issued and action taken by businesses to remedy any issues. The most common breaches have been around social distancing measures and compliance with the 10pm curfew.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, comments: “It is absolutely vital that we respond quickly and firmly to breaches of coronavirus safety regulations within businesses so we limit the threat to public health and deter repeat offences. Our approach to enforcement will be pragmatic and proportionate but businesses that do not act responsibly and fail to comply with their obligations will face tough consequences.
“The vast majority of businesses in the city are taking coronavirus safety measures extremely seriously to protect their staff and customers, but I would urge people to let us know if they do see a business operating in a way that causes concern or might risk public safety. We will investigate and take appropriate action if we find the business to be breaking the rules.”
Anyone with concerns about a business that may be operating unsafely can contact the council’s dedicated coronavirus enforcement team via the web form at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirussecurityreporting.
Businesses can find information and support to help them meet coronavirus safety regulations on Portsmouth City Council’s coronavirus webpages www.portsmouth.gov.uk/businesssupport