Public Health & Licensing officials in North East Lincolnshire have warned that employers who may be flouting COVID rules could face fines of up to £10,000.
North East Lincolnshire Council Officers from Licensing and Public Health issued the warning as the number of fines issued to businesses rose in recent weeks.
Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-isolation) (England) Regulations 2020), it is an offence for an employer who is aware of an employee’s requirement to self-isolate, to knowingly allow that employee to continue to go to work.
Council officers have the power to issue fixed penalty notices to anyone that they believe has committed an offence under these Coronavirus regulations. Fixed penalty notices (FPN) issued for this offence will result in a £1000 fine. Repeat offenders will face a second FPN and a £2000 fine. A third offence will see the employer receiving a fine for £4000, and a fourth offence would result in a £10,000 fine.
Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “These laws are in place for a reason. This virus spreads very easily when people come together, so allowing someone who could be carrying the virus to come into a business environment where they may be interacting with other staff and customers is potentially devastating.
“The simple message that we want to get across to employers is that if you knowingly allow staff who should be self-isolating to continue to come in to work, you will face a fine.
“We have said all along during this pandemic that we want to work businesses to make sure that they can access the support out there and that they are enabled to make the right decisions. That is still the case. If there are businesses out there that are not sure of their obligations during this pandemic, they can contact us for more information.”
Geoff Barnes, Deputy Director for Public Health, said: “It is vitally important that employees do not enter the workplace if they have been told to self-isolate.
“As an employer, the responsibility is on you to protect the health of all of your staff and customers. When someone is told to self-isolate, it is usually because they have either displayed symptoms of the virus, or have been in close contact with someone else who has had the virus.
“By allowing someone who should be self-isolating to continue to come into work, you are putting lives at risk.”
The warning comes as North East Lincolnshire Council continues to roll-out lateral flow testing for key workers who are still leaving home to go to work despite lockdown measures.
To find out more about COVID tests and support for businesses, visit www.nelincs.gov.uk.