Barbers, beauty salons and hairdressers among those most guilty of flouting Covid-19 rules
21 May 2020
Brent Trading Standards is processing hundreds of Covid-19 complaints ever since the lockdown began - with most related to businesses that flout social distancing rules and open when they shouldn’t.
London Trading Standards report that across the whole of London, barbers, hairdressers, beauty salons, mobile phone shops, and vape shops, are the most likely to break the rules and attract enforcement action.
Brent Council received 309 Covid-19 related complaints from members of the public between March 16 and May 14; 156 of those complaints were about business opening when they shouldn’t be open, and a further 66 complaints were related to social distancing breaches.
And there were 67 complaints from shoppers who claimed retailers were exploiting them with unreasonable price hikes during the crisis.
Councillor Tom Miller, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Engagement, said: “Most London businesses have so far respected the law on business closures and we need them to keep on going until it is safe to re-open.
“But there are still some in the minority flouting the new laws and to-date we have served 14 prohibition notices, served 20 warning letters and visited 208 businesses.
“Businesses are playing a critical role in the Covid-19 response and it is extremely important that they continue to abide by the law and protect the public.
“We would also urge those businesses that have been allowed to stay open, to treat customers with fairness and not inflate prices at this difficult time.
“Our enforcement teams will continue to work with the public who are our ‘eyes and ears’ so that we can keep everyone safe through this pandemic and into recovery.”
According to data from London Trading Standards (LTS), which covers the 33 London boroughs, just 2 per cent of businesses visited over the past two months have been told to close.
A total of 38,808 businesses have been visited and advised on either closure or social distancing since lockdown; 739 were failing to comply with the rules, 529 closed voluntarily but 262 were forced to close after being served with a Prohibition Notice.
Local authority enforcement teams have also dealt with 2,426 enquires relating to social distancing from businesses, employees and the general public and have given advice to businesses as to how best to manage this safely.
London Trading Standards Operations Director, Stephen Knight, added: “Borough Trading Standards teams are central to the local effort to ensure the continuing lockdown is effective.
“Whilst the vast majority of businesses have so far complied with the law, we are seeing an increasing number of businesses attempting to open illegally as the lockdown goes on.
“Borough trading standards officers are working extremely hard to help businesses find ways to trade safely, where possible within the rules. However, enforcement action will be taken where necessary to keep Londoners safe.”
The latest government guidance on which businesses should be closed can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance
- If you are aware of any businesses that should be closed but are continuing to trade, then you can report this to your local trading standards service via the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or via their chat service online https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ or email email@example.com
- Alternatively, you can report cases confidentially via the London Trading Standards online consumer crime reporting tool http://www.londontradingstandards.org.uk/report-consumer-crime/