New COVID-19 measures and curfews introduced for UK businesses to curb infection rates
Businesses could be subject to new fines of £10,000 if they fail to adhere to new guidance surrounding measures such as curfews and face coverings announced by the Government yesterday (September 22).
In a briefing to ministers, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the latest guidance to curb the increase of COVID-19 cases and prevent the spread of the virus.
Along with employees being told to work from home again where possible, staff working in the retail and hospitality sectors must now join customers in wearing face coverings (unless exempt) whilst from Thursday (September 24), hospitality businesses will be subject to a 10pm closure curfew.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We know from our own experiences at a local level that COVID-19 cases are rising, and action has to be taken now to try and protect us in the future.
“As we enter the colder months cases are likely to rise due to natural weather conditions, so we need to take additional precautions to ensure where we do have the capability of slowing the spread, we are doing everything we can to do just that.”
Doctor Justin Varney, Director of Public Health for Birmingham City Council, said: “The new measures have been accompanied by plans to increase funding to local authorities and the police to help to ensure everyone is playing their part.
“The threat is as real now as it was six months ago so business, customers and staff all need to work together to help protect themselves, their loved ones and our economy.”
During his announcement, the Prime Minister confirmed home working should be maintained for people who have the capability to do so, whilst those in industries such as retail and construction should continue to go to work.
From Thursday, pubs, bars and restaurants will have to close (not take last orders) at 10pm, though takeaway outlets can continue to make deliveries after this time. It will also be compulsory for all hospitality premises to only offer table service and unless seated for food or drink, customers in hospitality venues must wear a face covering to prevent the continued spread of coronavirus.
Business who flout the rules could be closed and fined £10,000 – the same penalty for individuals who fail to self-isolate. Those who fail to wear a face covering when required or who breach the rule of six – which now includes indoor team sports – will be fined £200 instead of the previous penalty of £100.
From Monday (September 28), weddings will be limited to 15 people though funerals will continue to allow 30 mourners. However, plans to partially open sports stadiums have been postponed.
Cllr Ian Ward continued: “The majority of people are following the rules and the additional restrictions help reinforce lots of the good practice making it mandatory, but there a few that are letting us down, which is why now, more than ever, we would encourage you to report businesses breaking the rules via our anonymous whistleblowing hotline.”