Further action is being taken to combat those who flout coronavirus rules in the city with trading standards teams out in force across Stoke-on-Trent.
The news comes as the city council has seen an increase in complaints.
Over the past week the city council has received a higher level (54) of complaints mainly for retail premises illegally trading. Trading standards officers have been advising business of the restrictions and offering them support to ensure they follow the guidance following up on complaints received directly from residents.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown said: “On Friday we received a complaint from a resident about a carpet shop in Burslem who were still trading despite the national guidelines that they should not be. We visited and offered advice to them, highlighting they should be closed. However, we received further information earlier this week that they were still open despite our guidance; our trading standards team spoke to the trader on Monday and they are now closed. This is an example of how residents sharing information with us helps us stop these rule breakers.
“As we come out of the national lockdown next week and enter tier three coronavirus restrictions, it is important all businesses follow the new restrictions. Retail premises will reopen, which I know is something many are pleased about as we get ever closer to Christmas. However these new rules should not be flouted and our officers will be continuing to offer advice to businesses.
“As always, some of the best information we receive is directly from the public. We’d urge people to work with us closely to report issues; your reports make a real difference to helping us tackle the virus in the city. Our teams have found compliance across the city by businesses and residents is generally good on the whole and we thank people for this. But we continue to urge people to report issues to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01782 234234.
Staffordshire Police are actively following up reports they receive about COVID-19 breaches. Intelligence between the Police and the city council is being actively shared. This past week Staffordshire Police have enforced:
- Three men were given a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) after officers found them playing poker at a house in Stoke-on-Trent.
- A man from Shelton was given a £200 FPN after officers found two other men in the property that did not live there. The man had previously been given a warning.
- Three men were parked up in Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent. They were all from different households and each was given a £200 FPN.
- Police were called to an address in Longton at about 7.45pm on Saturday (21 Nov) to reports of a large gathering taking place inside a property. Officers attended and found four adults and nine children present. The adults were each issued with an FPN and those that didn’t live there were sent home.
- Officers attended an address in Etruria at 8.30pm on Sunday (22 Nov) to reports of a large gathering. Police attended and issued nine FPNs.
Chief Inspector Rob Hessell, of Stoke-on-Trent South Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The vast majority of people in Stoke-on-Trent are doing their best and have made huge personal sacrifices since March such as missing weddings, funerals and family celebrations in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the public for this and recognise the collective efforts of our partners, NHS staff, emergency services and our own frontline officers, who are doing all they can to protect us all.
“I know the vast majority of the public will support us as we continue to take action against those who choose to deliberately break the law.”
Meanwhile as part of the city council’s approach to further combat rule breaking and confusion around the guidelines across the city, six covid stewards have this week started working across the city, visiting high footfall areas and communities.
Their role is to offer advice and signposting to people who need it. This includes giving information about the lockdown rules, how to book a coronavirus test, when to self-isolate and support such as test and trace payments and sign-posting to mental health services.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown continues: “Our covid stewards are already proving a valuable resource. They have already been out visiting Tunstall, Hanley, Longton & Stoke, in particular the markets and bus stations. If you see them out and about, the stewards are approachable and friendly so please ask them questions if you have any. The stewards are here to support our residents.”
For the latest information on council services and support during the coronavirus, and frequently asked questions, please visit www.stoke.gov.uk/coronavirus. For latest health advice on the coronavirus, please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, and for further information on the virus visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated. If residents have symptoms, please get tested. All residents must continue to follow the guidance of wash hands, cover face and make space.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.