THOUSANDS of businesses in Wales have been visited by council enforcement officials during the lockdown period, as authorities ramp up penalties for firms that ignore public safety rules.

From this week, the Welsh Government will give councils new powers to close businesses which are not complying with coronavirus rules, such as those on social-distancing and hygiene.

Environmental Health officers can first issue Premises Improvement Notices to firms, compelling them to follow the rules. Any businesses which fail to make the necessary improvements, or which commit a serious breach of the rules, can then be served a Premises Closure Notice.

Closure notices can last up to 14 days and can be renewed if they are not complied with.

These notices apply to any business and, where they are issued, signs will be displayed in a prominent place to inform people that a premises has breached the rules.


The new powers give councils additional tools with which to enforce the public health rules on stopping the spread of Covid-19.

Welsh Government figures, released today, show enforcement officials made 8,858 visits to premises between March 17 and July 26.

During that same period, Welsh councils issued 682 warning letters to businesses for non-compliance with the legal requirements put in place to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Councils also issued 49 fixed penalty notices and 26 prohibition notices, and closed 76 premises across Wales that had previously been issued with a prohibition notice.

South Wales Argus: South Wales Argus:

Examples of a Premises Improvement Notice which can be issued to businesses in Wales which do not comply with the coronavirus rules.

The number of businesses to have received advice from council enforcement officers, to help them comply with coronavirus rules, had reached 25,686 by mid-July.

Regarding the new powers issued to councils, first minster Mark Drakeford warned that authorities would not shy away from closing non-complaint businesses.

“As more and more premises are allowed to open, specific rules that apply to those premises, and to all workplaces, are particularly important because they are designed to keep us safe," he said.

"For the small minority of individuals and businesses who are not complying with the law, I want to make it clear that we will take action and we won’t hesitate to close individual premises if that is necessary.

"Local authorities are being enhanced powers to intervene, and to respond more effectively to complaints including those reported to the Wales TUC and its affiliated unions.

"As we have seen in many places around the world, this pandemic is far from over and we must remain vigilant. There is a significant risk cases in Wales could rise again and we will have to take further action if this were to happen. Only by us all continuing to do our part can we keep Wales safe.”