Lancashire retailers are being reminded about the rules banning many businesses from opening during lockdown.
The county council’s trading standards team has now dealt with more than 500 questions or complaints relating to business closure rules and issued over 100 warnings since 26 March.
This action follows complaints from people and businesses that are trading legally. The reports relate to traders flouting the rules by advertising or letting customers in ‘through the back door’.
Some traders have disregarded trading standards warnings, leading to prohibition notices being served on businesses.
Although the Government has eased the restrictions, most businesses, including hairdressers and barbers, are still banned from opening by law. The most significant easing of restrictions in the latest government announcement has been for garden centres, permitting them to open.
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, cabinet member for technical services, rural affairs and waste management, said: “Although we recognise that it is very difficult for traders at the moment, we urge everyone to look at the bigger health picture.
“Coronavirus is an unprecedented challenge for all of us, and we all have to play our part in stopping its spread, protecting the more vulnerable in our communities and reducing the pressure on our NHS.”
The Government has made it clear that closed traders and shops will only be allowed to reopen when it is safe to do so.
Closed businesses include spas, salons, tattoo parlours, hairdressers, gyms, betting shops, car showrooms and venues where people gather, such as bingo halls. Auction houses and many retailers deemed non-essential, such as clothing, toy and outdoor shops are also included.
County Councillor Atkinson added: “Local businesses are an important part of the Lancashire economy and we are trying to support them.
“Our Trading Standards Officers have advised hundreds of traders since this crisis began – but banned businesses need to obey the law, otherwise we will not hesitate to take action.”
For further advice or to report a business that should be closed, contact Lancashire County Council’s trading standards team, call the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.