POLICE and council officers have carried out a series of visits to check compliance with national coronavirus safety measures at shops in Leicester.
Officers from Leicester City Council’s regulatory services team carried out the operations on Wednesday, December 9, and Friday, December 11, at stores in Beaumont Leys Shopping Centre and in Leicester city centre, in order to see whether the correct measures were in place to enable social distancing and wearing of face coverings.
Under the current Government rules, face coverings must be worn inside shops and supermarkets, and also within shopping malls and centres.
Premises where face coverings are required are expected to take reasonable steps to ensure people comply with the law.
The city council is responsible for working with business to ensure they have suitable regulations in place to ensure customers’ safety within the coronavirus regulations. The police can take action against members of the public who do not comply with this law without a valid exemption, including enforcement powers involving fines of up to £200 for the first offence.
While Wednesday’s visit focused on stores and shoppers at Beaumont Leys Shopping Centre, Friday’s work concentrated on city centre streets including Belgrave Gate, Churchgate, High Street, Loseby Lane, Gallowtree Gate, Humberstone Gate and Granby Street.
Joint visits by police and officers from the city council’s food safety and public safety teams were made to a total of 64 businesses, including hair, beauty, retail and food outlets. In all, 45 required additional posters stating the need for face coverings, and follow-up visits and additional advice due to be made to eight of them.
At the 26 food outlets which were visited, officers dealt with 18 instances of staff not correctly wearing face coverings, and seven cases of customers not wearing face coverings correctly.
Police also advised numerous shoppers not wearing face coverings of the importance of doing so. Covid-19 guidance for businesses, and posters highlighting the need for face coverings were handed out to 12 businesses.
No fines were handed out during these operations, but further visits are due to be carried out elsewhere in the city during the coming weeks as part of ongoing work to help drive down the Covid-19 infection rate in the city and county, which are both currently subject to Tier 3 restrictions – meaning Very High Alert.
Leicester City Council’s head of regulatory services, Nicola Preston, said: “The run-up to Christmas is always a very busy time for businesses of all sorts, and it is vital that they continue to observe the national Covid-19 regulations such as wearing of face coverings, to put the safety of staff and customers first.
“I’m glad to say that for the most part, people and businesses are complying with the regulations and many businesses have good measures in place to keep people safe.
“Our officers gave advice to several businesses who needed to improve their arrangements to ensure customer and staff safety, and we will be making follow-up visits to some of these to ensure they are meeting the standards expected of them.”
Leicestershire Police’s Central Leicester Commander, Inspector Adam Archer, added: “This is a great example of the partnership work we are undertaking during the pandemic. We work closely with the council and this works really well.
“Although we did not give any fines out in these instances, this was because people responded to advice in the right way.
“We are all working together to beat this virus and we all have to take personal responsibility for our safety by following the rules and guidelines. We are doing this work to help keep people safe and protect livelihoods – it is really important we all do our bit.”
For further information on the national coronavirus regulations, visit here.
Latest advice and information for Leicester is available here.