Covid whistleblowing calls pass 1,000 in Birmingham

More than 1,100 whistleblowing calls have been made to a council to report businesses not complying with coronavirus guidelines, it has been revealed.

In a week where it was also announced that 525 residents contacted the police to report neighbours breaking the rules during the first week of new restrictions, figures show that more than 400 additional reports have been made to Birmingham City Council this month.

As of September 17, 1,184 reports had been made to the hotline, which was established last month to enable residents to report any concerns they might have around businesses in the city.

This is up from 739 as of August 31.

With Birmingham being designated ‘an area of enhanced support’ and new restrictions announced last week, the ‘hotline’ allows residents to get in touch with the council either by calling a dedicated number or by filling out a form on the council website.

People are encouraged to get in touch, according to the website, to report businesses being open for business whilst the guidelines state to remain closed, businesses encouraging workers to come into the workplace even when they are symptomatic or have been in contact with someone who is, businesses not carrying out risk assessments in line with Government requirements, businesses not following Government Covid guidelines, eg: correct use of PPE and hand washing facilities or businesses with inadequate barriers and other protection measures.

Last week PBs bar on Key Hill, Jewellery Quarter, had its licence revoked after what police described as ‘repeat’ breaches of coronavirus guidelines, with officers having to visit the premises on seven separate occasions.

And, speaking after the decision, council leader Ian Ward warned other businesses that breaches will not be tolerated.

“Businesses have a responsibility – not only to their staff and customers – but to the wider community and there must be consequences when Covid-19 guidance is simply ignored,” he said.

“This is deadly serious and Birmingham City Council will continue to work with West Midlands Police to enforce the guidelines.

“Reports had been made to the council and the police that PB’s Bar failed to follow Government guidance and was operating with no regard for social distancing or public health.

“The way in which this premises was being run was endangering the public by risking the spread of Covid-19: It is this kind of behaviour that has contributed to restrictions being placed on Birmingham to try and control the sharp rise in cases in the city.”

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