Carpet store closed for breaking lockdown rules
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A branch of a national carpet retailer has been forced to close in Weston-super-Mare after flouting lockdown rules.
Carpetright, on Flowerdown Retail Park, was handed an enforcement notice after failing to comply with North Somerset Council's officers when asked to voluntarily close.
Carpetright, on Flowerdown Retail Park, had stayed open from November 5, when new national laws came into force requiring all non-essential retail businesses to close, claiming an exemption under the hardware and building merchants category of the regulations.
An investigation by enforcement officers at North Somerset Council revealed the store did not meet the criteria for the exemption and must close until December 2.
Carpetright was asked to close voluntarily, but when the business refused, officers used legal powers to serve a prohibition notice on Thursday.
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Like other non-essential retail businesses, Government rules say carpet shops can operate click and collect. They can also allow fittings to go ahead where they are already scheduled.
Cllr Mike Bell, North Somerset Council’s executive member with responsibility for business enforcement, said: “It is such a difficult time for business, and no one wants to force our shops and hospitality to close, but it has to be done for the health and safety of our communities.
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"There is no excuse for ignoring the rules, and we will take action against any business that believes lockdown does not apply.
"We are all in this together and that means everyone, businesses and residents alike, have to stick to the rules.”
Cllr Bell also revealed that enforcement officers had taken measures to keep the town's businesses abreast of developments concerning what stores could operate through the second coronavirus lockdown.
He added: "Our enforcement officers worked exceptionally hard last week advising businesses on what could and could not remain open.
"The small team voluntarily worked late into the evenings to interpret complex government guidelines and make sure they responded to every single question before lockdown began."
Weston's Carpetright was contacted for a comment, but did not wish to provide one.
Government guidelines are in force until the end of lockdown, December 2. To view the full details on how this affects businesses and venues visit www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november#businesses-and-venues.