Police Community Support Officers working alongside Enforcement Officers from Borough Council of Wellingborough issued 10 Fixed Penalty Notices over the course of two days.
The Fixed Penalty Notices were issued for individuals not wearing face coverings within commercial premises in Wellingborough town centre.
The joint operation was undertaken on Thursday 22 October and Friday 23 October, when a total of 16 commercial premises were visited. The premises included food outlets, supermarkets, retailers, hairdressers and barber shops.
The approach was undertaken after several weeks of proactive visits and advice being given to commercial premises by the council’s Environmental Health Team.
Environmental Health Officer, Martin Pettitt, said: “We are now seeing an escalation of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic within the Borough of Wellingborough.
“The council’s Environmental Health Team in its public health capacity, has been providing informal advice to businesses for a number of weeks. However, formal action has unfortunately had to be taken on a number of individuals for not wearing a face covering within commercial premises.
“We hope this sends a strong message to everyone that the wearing of face coverings within commercial premises is now a legal requirement. Further joint operations are planned to ensure compliance is achieved in the ongoing battle against the virus.”
Leader of Borough Council of Wellingborough, Cllr Martin Griffiths, said: “The vast majority of our residents are sticking to the government’s rules in order to help to beat this virus and to avoid this area moving to the next tier of intervention, something that will again have a huge impact on businesses and our way of life.
“We don’t want to issue penalties but will continue to do so if people don’t follow the simple rules on the wearing of face coverings in commercial premises and hospitality locations.”
In the context of the Covid-19 outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.
Face coverings are intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes the coronavirus (Covid-19) infection.
People are expected to wear a face covering before entering any commercial premises and must keep it on until they leave, unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.
If necessary, the police have enforcement powers including issuing fines of £200 (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days) for the first offence.
Repeat offenders receiving fines on public transport or in an indoor setting will have their fines doubled at each offence.
After the first offence, there will be no discount. For example, receiving a second fine will amount to £400 and a third fine will be £800, up to a maximum value of £6,400.