Barber shop issued with closure notice after Covid-19 breaches

A Wolverhampton barbers has been issued with a closure notice after it repeatedly failed to follow guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Wolverhampton Council said Naz Barbers in Dudley Road has been issued with the notice for failing to provide staff with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), presenting increased risks from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing and talking, and failing to have a suitable risk assessment in place.

The council’s Environmental Health team first visited the business in April after receiving a number of complaints relating to the premises operating for business when it was classed as a ‘non-essential site’ and was subject to closure. Verbal and written warnings were issued.

In June and August, the council said it issued guidance and advice to all businesses within the city carrying on close contact services. This includes barbers, hairdressers and tattooists and reminded business owners of the requirements surrounding PPE.

During August, visits to Naz Barbers were carried out by officers from the environmental health team and West Midlands Police.

During these visits, it was found that no PPE was being worn by staff.

Customers were not seen to be wearing any form of face covering and there were no signs advising clients of the requirements.

The council said that during further visits in September, correct PPE was still not being used and customers were not seen to be wearing face coverings.

The notice of closure will run for 28 days, during which time council officers will continue to work with the owner to ensure measures are in place so the business can safely reopen.

Cllr Steve Evans said: “The actions of the business owner are causing a serious and imminent threat to public health. There is a clear need to prevent further potential risk or harm and that is why we have issued this notice of closure.

“The closure of the premises is in response to regular and serious breaches of PPE compliance as well as other inadequate controls resulting in the potential spread of coronavirus.

“As a council, we take a zero-tolerance approach to those who flout the rules and who knowingly put others at risk. We have visited this business on several occasions, and it is not acceptable for them to ignore the guidance which has been set out by the government to protect the public from the virus.

“I am pleased to say that the vast majority of businesses in our city are acting responsibly and abiding by the rules.

“We will continue our close partnership working with the Police and our Public Health colleagues to protect the public by clamping down on those who are selfishly putting customers and their staff at risk.”

Wolverhampton Police Superintendent Simon Inglis added: “Throughout this pandemic we have worked very closely with Public Health, Environmental Health and the Local Authority and will continue to do so.

“It is absolutely clear that there have been a number of breaches of the regulations by this establishment in recent weeks and also many opportunities to make the relevant changes that would make their business safe for the public.

“However, it is clear from our joint visits that such opportunities to improve were not taken, thus presenting a considerable risk to the residents of a city that is currently seeing an increase in infections.

“Therefore, I was left with no option but to support the closure in the interests of one of the key roles of policing: protecting our communities.

“My message to any other business who chooses to act in a similar way is that we will always be ready to support you if you have difficulties, but will be robust and prompt in our support of the Local Authority if such breaches continue to occur.”