Kirklees Council in partnership with West Yorkshire Police is taking action to stop businesses opening illegally.

Over the last two weeks the Government announced that all pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes and shops selling non-essential items should close to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Council’s Environmental Health team will take the lead on enforcing the current and any future legislation in relation to premises which should remain closed – with the support of the police where necessary.

Whilst most businesses are complying with the requirement, some may continue to put lives at risk.

Where necessary the Council’s Environmental Health department, the Police, Licensing and Trading Standards will work together to enforce these closures.

Members of the public who become aware of any premises operating outside of these restrictions are encouraged to contact the Council in the first instance.  Anyone who has information about businesses operating illegally can contact the Council by emailing: coronavirusbusinessclosure@kirklees.gov.uk.

Due to an unprecedented number of calls currently being received by the police – they are asking the public to consider carefully before reporting matters to them. The advice is that members of the public should only contact the Police if there is a large gathering and they do not feel that it can wait until the next day, when the council will be able to investigate. Authorities appeal for everyone to work together and use a common sense approach at this time

However, advise that where there is a clear risk to public safety, people should contact the Police as usual by calling 101.

For food businesses and licensed premises who have been required to close but who wish to operate as a takeaway, the Council are offering help to do this safely and in accordance with the law. They are asking businesses to let them know if they are planning to operate in this way and want to remind businesses that they still need an off license if they want to offer alcohol on their takeaway menu.

The Police also have new powers to deal with public gatherings of more than two persons or unnecessary travel. The Police are monitoring the situation and dealing with situations – again please think carefully before reporting matters to the Police.

Cllr Rob Walker Cabinet Member for Environment said: “Our officers are working with the Police and local businesses to make sure they are following Government guidance on social distancing, operating within the law.

“The list of businesses that have to close, is changing on a regular basis, and this means that it is really important that people have somewhere to go to share their concerns and get clarity on whether something is illegal.

“We realise that this is a difficult time for everyone, and most, if not all businesses will want to comply with the new rules – if anyone has any questions I would encourage them to email the team who will be happy to offer advice and guidance.”

Further advice on what premises can be open at this time is available online from central government

The Government have also announced a range of financial help for businesses. To find out more visit the council website: www.kirklees.gov.uk/coronavirusbuiness