Residents report 150 businesses in Portsmouth over potential Covid breaches

BUSINESSES across Portsmouth have been issued 150 warnings over potential coronavirus breaches.

Bars and restaurants in the city have been the most widely reported venues over Covid safety issues since the city council started enforcing rules in September.

A new reporting tool on the council's website has allowed members of the public to flag potential breaches - of which there have been 150 to date. Spot checks at various establishments have also resulted in the discovery of breaches.

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Bars and restaurants are among businesses that have been reported to Portsmouth council for potential Covid rule breaches. CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: '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 most common breaches have been around social distancing measures and sticking to the 10pm curfew.

All of the 150 reports have been investigated with warnings issued and action taken by businesses to reach compliance.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson encouraged residents to contact the council if they had any concerns.

'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,' he added.

'We will investigate and take appropriate action if we find the business to be breaking the rules.'

Enforcement action in cases of non-compliance includes fixed penalty notices, restricting access to businesses and closing the premises - but so far none of these actions have been taken.

It is planned that Covid business compliance officers - equivalent to marshals - will be introduced in Portsmouth in the coming weeks. These are new positions created with government funding.

The police are responsible for ensuring members of the public follow coronavirus safety rules.

Anyone with concerns about a business that may be operating unsafely should report it via portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirussecurityreporting.

Businesses can find information and support to help them meet coronavirus safety regulations at portsmouth.gov.uk/businesssupport.

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