Five non-essential businesses closed in Sandwell after police action

Five non-essential Sandwell businesses that were open despite Covid-19 restrictions have been ordered to close.

Nearly 100 Sandwell businesses were visited in total during a day of action last Friday – and officers found the vast majority following government restrictions on operating safely.

But five – including two market stalls - one selling non-essential items and one which was trading without a licence, a sports shop, a home furnishings shop and a photography shop were ordered to close after being open illegally. All five businesses agreed to close and to follow rules in future or face a fine.

Businesses which were open legally were also reminded about the law and given advice on how to operate safely and lawfully under the latest coronavirus legislation.

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Shoppers were also warned when not wearing face coverings in shops and enclosed spaces where they are required to by law. People were also reminded they shouldn't gather in groups and should only mix with those they live with or are in a support bubble with. Those in breach of the rules were either asked to leave shops or disperse from groups.

Councillor Maria Crompton, Sandwell Council's deputy leader said: "The joint operation was very successful and we are proud to have such a great partnership with West Midlands Police in Sandwell.

"It is heartening to know the vast majority of people and businesses in Sandwell are adhering to the national government restrictions.

"I want to issue a reminder to those who are not complying with the government restrictions - this is a criminal offence and could result in a fine.

"Thank you to all those who are following the rules. We all need to work together to stop the spread of this awful virus."

Sergeant Richard Phillips, police lead for the Sandwell enforcement operations, added: “We wish to thank the vast majority of residents and businesses in Sandwell who are adhering to the national restrictions. Enforcement is a last resort, however where restrictions are being breached we will take appropriate action in order to safeguard the health of our community.”

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