2 Stockport business owners have been convicted of breaching COVID-19 regulations

2 Stockport business owners have been convicted at Tameside Magistrates Court of breaching COVID-19 regulations.

Chris King, of Chris King Barber Shop, at 66 St Petersgate, was summoned to appear at court for COVID-19 offences committed on 24 and 30 December 2020 after he continued to operate in contravention of a Direction to Close issued by Stockport Council on 23 December under Regulation 4(1) requiring the premises to close contrary to Section 13(1)(a) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.3) (England) Regulations 2020, following repeated contacts with the business throughout the pandemic. At the time, Stockport was at a high level of alert in Tier 3. The Direction to Close was served following several complaints about the lack of social distancing, lack of PPE such as face masks or visors being worn by the barbers and customers and failure to display a QR code or keep customer details for Track and Trace, despite receiving repeated advice about such measures from the council’s Pandemic Response Team. Mr King accepted that wearing face masks and visors was a legal requirement but continued to operate without one. On 15 July 2021, at Tameside Magistrates Court, Mr King pleaded guilty to the offences. He was fined £1773.00 for both offences, ordered to pay a £117 victim surcharge and £1258.74 in costs - a total of £3148.74.

Amir Alii, owner of Show & Shine Hand Car Wash, on Edgeley Road Cheadle Heath, also appeared at Tameside Magistrates Court for COVID-19 offences after he continued to operate contrary to government restrictions that hand car washes should be closed, despite previous warnings by officers from Stockport Council's Pandemic Response Team. On 5 November 2020, officers found the business trading, despite regulations that required hand car washes to be closed until 2 December 2020. They spoke to the owner Amir Alii and requested the business to be closed, which was complied with. Further national lockdown regulations came into force on 6 January 2021, which required hand car washes to be closed again. On visiting, officers again found the business was operating. They spoke to Mr Alii and requested the business to be closed again. He was warned of the consequences should he continue to operate. Officers witnessed the car wash trading again on 3 and 4 February. Mr Alii was served with a £1,000 Fixed Penalty Notice on 5 February 2021. On 6 February 2021, officers witnessed the car wash still operating, and a second Fixed Penalty Notice was served. Both these fines remained unpaid, leading to the court action.

On 15 July, for his failure without reasonable excuse to cease carrying on the business or providing the service listed in COVID-19 Regulations, he continued operating a restricted business, Mr Alii - who pleaded guilty - was fined £1,773.00, ordered to pay a £117 victim surcharge and £654.25 in costs - a total of £2,544.25.

Councillor Sheila Bailey, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport at Stockport Council, said: "These breaches of the restrictions were committed when there were
many COVID cases, hospitalisations and deaths and we were on high alert Tier 3 of local restrictions. Despite repeated visits, advice and warnings from our Pandemic Response Team, these 2 business owners still blatantly chose to ignore the rules laid out by the government to help stop the spread of COVID and protect the community.”

Cllr Bailey added: "I'd also like to thank the vast majority of Stockport businesses that made huge sacrifices to help keep our community safe and protected by doing their utmost to curb the spread of the virus."