A card and book shop in Droitwich has been issued with Fixed Penalty Notices totalling £17,000 after repeatedly breaching national lockdown rules.
All non-essential retailers must close as part of the national lockdown for England introduced to bring down Covid-19 infection rates, protect the NHS and help save lives.
While the majority of retailers have complied with the legislation, Grace Cards and Books have refused.
The shop’s owners were issued with a £10,000 FPN on Wednesday (10 February) by Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS), acting on behalf of Wychavon District Council. A prohibition notice was issued at the start of the January lockdown ordering the business to close, which did prompt the store to shut temporarily before opening again.
This is the fourth fine the business has received since the start of lockdown on 5 January having already been given FPNs for £1,000, £2,000 and £4,000 for continuing to trade.
Discussions are taking place about further action, including a forced closure or court action, due to concerns about the risk the shop’s continued opening poses to public health.
Attempts have been made to support the business including encouraging them to apply for the financial support available to them.
The business claims as it sells items offered by shops still allowed to trade, including newspapers and confectionary, it can legally stay open. But WRS officers have made it clear as the core of the business is selling cards, gifts, and other non-essential items they must close under the coronavirus regulations but can continue to trade online and offer a delivery service.
Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council, said: “Despite the impact coronavirus regulations are having on businesses, the vast majority of our traders are following the rules because they want to play their part in bringing infections down to help protect our NHS and save lives.
“It’s disappointing this one particular business feels the need to flout the rules and we will work with our partners to take further action, if needed, to protect the public.
“Financial support is available to businesses and we are working hard to get that money out as fast as possible. While infections are coming down in Wychavon, they are still high, and our local NHS remains under significant pressure.
“We have a plan to support businesses to rebuild once this pandemic is over. That day will come much faster if we all follow the rules and help get back on top of this virus.”