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New regulations introduced to tackle queues outside London Road businesses

Map showing area of London Road included in new regulations

EMERGENCY measures are being introduced to prevent large crowds of customers queuing outside restaurants and other food outlets on London Road as part of efforts to tackle COVID-19.

A new Outdoor Public Place Direction is being put in place from Monday, August 17, to prohibit queueing, gathering or congregating outside food businesses along a section of London Road, between the railway station and Victoria Park, by customers who haven’t made a booking.

Anyone who has made a booking should not arrive more than 10 minutes beforehand, and if they do have to queue, should do so following the requirements of safe, social distancing.

The new legislation is being introduced by Leicester City Council to tackle the large numbers of people gathering on London Road in order to take advantage of the Government’s month-long Eat Out To Help Out scheme, which offers discounted prices at food outlets on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August.

The temporary new regulations will come into effect from Monday, August, 17, and will run for the remainder of August. Letters and information explaining the new rules are being given out today ahead of the scheme coming into effect this afternoon.

Staff from security firm Showsec will be in place on London Road to provide support in engaging, explaining and encouraging people to socially distance. They will be joined by local police who will help with messaging and who, if required, will have the powers to enforce the new measures.

In addition, Individual Public Health Premises Directions are also being issued to six busy food outlets on London Road, following warning notices issued by officers from Leicester City Council’s regulatory services team who witnessed problems with large groups of customers ignoring public health social distancing guidelines.

The six businesses must now ensure they put in place strict systems to manage queues safely and only admit customers who have booked in advance.

Those issued with Public Health Premises Directions include Jimmy’s Killer Prawns, An Najeeb, Kobe Sizzlers, Konak, Boo Burger and Toros Steakhouse. The regulations will be in force on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays until August 31, to coincide with the Eat Out To Help Out offer.

Businesses which fail to follow the new legislation will face fines ranging from £100 to £3,200 for repeat offences, and as a last resort could also be issued with a prohibition notice, effectively closing them down.

Leicester deputy city mayor with responsibility for regulatory services, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “Social distancing measures are in place nationally as a key part of the fight to reduce COVID-19 infections, but we’ve seen problems with uncontrolled queueing outside a number of restaurants in London Road.

“We are bringing in an Outdoor Public Place Direction to prevent people from turning up at restaurants without having booked, and then gathering or queueing without social distancing outside these businesses. We are working with food outlets to ensure they have correct procedures in place for people to enter and exit safely.

“This includes proper queueing and booking systems, and informing customers not to arrive earlier than 10 minutes before their reservation.

“We have already issued several restaurants with warning notices about their level of compliance with these measures, and while some improvements have been made, there is still work to be done.

“Therefore issuing them with Individual Public Health Premises Directions will ensure they make the changes needed to comply with the legislation, which is there to protect the health and welfare of their customers and staff members alike.”

Both the Individual Public Health Premises Directions, and the wider Outdoor Public Place Direction, are being put in place under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, which give councils the powers to put in place COVID-19 protection measures.