Two Sandwell businesses fined for breaching Covid-19 restrictions

Sandwell Council enforcement officers and West Midlands Police are out enforcing Covid-19 restrictions this Christmas to help keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus.

Sandwell is currently in Tier 3 meaning pubs, cafes and restaurants will remain closed to curb the spread of the virus, and only takeaway services are permitted.

In a recent visit to a Turkish restaurant in Smethwick, police officers discovered diners inside the restaurant.

The owners of Nemrut Restaurant Ltd in Lightwoods Road were handed a fine of £200 and Sandwell Council’s enforcement team took action by issuing a prohibition notice to ensure the owners comply with Covid-19 rules in the future. The restaurant will be monitored by officers to ensure they comply with Government restrictions affecting Sandwell.

Police officers attended a Smethwick gym on 20 December. The owners of Legion Fitness in Smethwick were using the premises to hold an illegal gathering, which was outside the remit of the gym business. Evidence captured showed a number of people at the premises.

The owners of the gym were each handed a fine of £200 and Sandwell Council’s enforcement team will be taking further action to ensure the owners comply with Covid-19 rules in the future. In recent weeks West Midlands Police has seen an increase in calls reporting gatherings in private dwellings and as a result have issued five fixed penalty tickets to the occupiers.

Superintendent Martin Hurcomb from West Midlands Police said: "Christmas this year is very different but no matter how tempting it may be, we urge people not to gather indoors and we ask businesses to abide by the government restrictions. "Our officers’ approach remains to positively, politely and proactively, engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules in the first instance so that all members of our communities are kept safe.

"We will continue to take a proportionate and common sense approach to policing the West Midlands – we don’t intend to intrude on private spaces but we are counting on you to act responsibly before, during and after the festive season. We will only resort to enforcement when we cannot be satisfied that a reasonable excuse exists and other members of the public are being unnecessarily put at risk.”

Holding gatherings of mixed households is not permitted under Tier 3 restrictions.

Gatherings such as these increase the risk of spreading coronavirus between households.

With rules being relaxed on Christmas Day, businesses are reminded that Tier 3 restrictions will still apply and diners should not be eating in at restaurants and pubs.

Residents are urged to consider very carefully whether they should mix with other households. Deputy Council Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: "Covid-19 can be a fatal disease so we need to look out for one another and not take unnecessary risks. "Just because we can come together on Christmas Day, doesn't mean we should. Please consider the risks very carefully before mixing with anyone they don’t live with on Christmas Day. "I urge businesses to continue to comply with local restrictions and remind business owners there are grants available to help them through this very difficult time.”

The Council's Environmental Protection Officers, Trading Standards and Environmental Health and Police will continue to monitor compliance and take necessary enforcement action as necessary. For details of Government restrictions affecting Sandwell, go to www.sandwell.gov.uk/localrestricions. Businesses can apply for grants online by going to www.sandwell.gov.uk/supportforbusinesses

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