Lockdown enforcement notice served in North Somerset

12:04pm - 12 November 2020

A branch of a national carpet retailer has been forced to close in Weston-super-Mare after flouting lockdown rules.

Carpetright, on Flowerdown Retail Park, had stayed open from 5 November, when new national laws came into force requiring all non-essential retail businesses to close, claiming an exemption under the hardware and building merchants category of the regulations.

But an investigation by enforcement officers at North Somerset Council revealed the store did not meet the criteria for the exemption and must close until 2 December. Carpetright was asked to close voluntarily, but when the business refused, officers used legal powers to serve a prohibition notice yesterday (Thursday).

Like other non-essential retail businesses, government rules say carpet shops can operate click and collect. They can also allow fittings to go ahead where they are already scheduled.

The Food and Safety team at North Somerset Council, which is responsible for enforcing lockdown rules, has been providing advice to a range of businesses following the introduction of the national restrictions and is investigating any breaches of the guidelines reported by residents or other businesses.

Cllr Mike Bell, North Somerset Council’s executive member with responsibility for business enforcement, said: “It is such a difficult time for business, and no one wants to force our shops and hospitality to close, but it has to be done for the health and safety of our communities.

“Our enforcement officers worked exceptionally hard last week advising businesses on what could and could not remain open. The small team voluntarily worked late into the evenings to interpret complex government guidelines and make sure they responded to every single question before lockdown began.

“There is no excuse for ignoring the rules, and we will take action against any business that believes lockdown does not apply. We're all in this together and that means everyone, businesses and residents alike, have to stick to the rules.”

Government guidelines are in force during England’s national lockdown from 5 November until 2 December and require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. Full details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november#businesses-and-venues.

To find out more about the help and support available to local businesses during the lockdown visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport or email businesss@n-somerset.gov.uk.