A DROITWICH card and booked shop has been fined £17,000 for breaching lockdown rules by staying open during the restrictions.
The Government ruled all non-essential retailers must close as part of the national lockdown for England introduced to bring down Covid-19 infection rates, protect the NHS and help save lives.
Wychavon District Council said, while the majority of retailers had complied with the legislation, Grace Cards and Books had refused.
The shop’s owners were issued with a £10,000 fixed penalty notices on Wednesday by Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS), acting on behalf of Wychavon District Council.
A prohibition notice was issued at the start of the January lockdown ordering the business to close, which did prompt the store to shut temporarily before opening again.
This is the fourth fine the business has received since the start of lockdown on January 5, having already been given fixed penalty notices for £1,000, £2,000 and £4,000 for continuing to trade.
Discussions are taking place about further action, including a forced closure or court action, due to concerns about the risk the shop’s continued opening poses to public health.
Attempts have been made to support the business including encouraging them to apply for the financial support available to them.
The business claims as it sells items offered by shops still allowed to trade, including newspapers and confectionary, it can legally stay open.
But WRS officers have made it clear as the core of the business is selling cards, gifts, and other non-essential items they must close under the coronavirus regulations but can continue to trade online and offer a delivery service.
Coun Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council, said: “Despite the impact coronavirus regulations are having on businesses, the vast majority of our traders are following the rules because they want to play their part in bringing infections down to help protect our NHS and save lives.
“It’s disappointing this one particular business feels the need to flout the rules and we will work with our partners to take further action, if needed, to protect the public.
“Financial support is available to businesses and we are working hard to get that money out as fast as possible. While infections are coming down in Wychavon, they are still high, and our local NHS remains under significant pressure.
“We have a plan to support businesses to rebuild once this pandemic is over. That day will come much faster if we all follow the rules and help get back on top of this virus.”
We reported back in November the shop had been threatened with forced closure for breaching the rules.
Click here to read that story.