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New Powers Help Cheshire East to keep Customers and Businesses Covid-Safe

Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities

Cheshire East Council is working to support local businesses in adhering to national Covid-19 regulations.

Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities, said: “I’d like to thank the vast majority of businesses in Cheshire East that are operating within the regulations.

“However, regulations, advice and guidance can change at short notice, and we know that it can be difficult for business owners and managers to know exactly what rules and best practice apply at any given time.

“We have been working hard with businesses to help them to understand the guidance and implement Covid-secure measures to keep both staff and customers as safe as possible.

“We have followed the ‘4 Es’ principles in our work with businesses: ‘Engage’, ‘Explain’, ‘Encourage’ and ‘Enforce’.  To date, thanks to the genuine goodwill and cooperation of the vast majority of businesses in Cheshire East, enforcement has only been brought forward as a last resort.  However, these new powers mean that we can act more quickly where businesses are in breach of the regulations and people are put at risk.” 

National government introduced new powers for local councils on 1 December to ensure compliance with the regulations.

These powers include:

  • Coronavirus Improvement Notice (CIN) – A CIN can be issued by the council when a business is failing to fulfil a provision set out in the relevant coronavirus regulations. Failure to comply with a CIN could lead to a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of £2,000 and/or a Coronavirus Restriction Notice being issued.
  • Coronavirus Restrictions Notice (CRN) – A CRN will be issued by a local authority when there has been a breach of the provisions of the relevant coronavirus regulations, and a premises has failed to comply with the terms of a CIN, where this non-compliance creates a risk of exposure to coronavirus. Failure to comply with a CRN will result in an FPN of £4,000 being issued.
  • Coronavirus Immediate Restrictions Notice (CIRN) – A CIRN can be issued by enforcement officers where rapid action is needed to close a premises or restrict an activity to stop the spread of the virus, without first issuing a CIN to stop the spread of the virus. Failure to comply with a CIRN will result in an FPN of £4,000 being issued.

Following the lifting of national restrictions and a return to the local tiering system of COVID measures, more businesses have been able to open and operate, once again welcoming customers back. 

Councillor Warren added: “Our priority is to ensure that people are safe.  Where, following engagement, explanation and encouragement, businesses are unable or unwilling to comply with Covid regulations we will not hesitate to enforce the law using these new powers.

“Working together, we can keep each other safe, abiding by the new regulations, while supporting many businesses to operate and customers to access the goods and services they need.”

Information about what businesses can and cannot do, can be found online.

Any local business seeking advice about how the regulations apply to them or if anyone has concerns about whether a business is operating in a Covid-secure manner can contact commercialservices@cheshireeast.gov.uk.