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Council officers responsible for enforcing regulations requiring businesses to close during lockdown

Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will be able to issue prohibition notices to enforce regulations requiring non-essential businesses and premises to close during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020, which came into force on 21 March 2020, officers have powers to prosecute.

Businesses breaching prohibition notices could be subject to potentially unlimited fines. Continued non-compliance could lead to the loss of alcohol licenses.

The government said officers would also have police support, if appropriate.

The Cabinet Office and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government updated its guidance, Businesses and other venues subject to further social distancing measures, on 22 March.

Yesterday (23 March) the MHCLG issued guidance on further businesses and premises to close as the government extended the range of businesses affected. It also sets out exceptions to the closure requirement.

The government said on publication of the first set of guidance that it would ensure that local authorities were funded for the new requirements as quickly as possible, in line with the New Burdens doctrine.

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