DOZENS of businesses in Blaenau Gwent have been issued with advice or warnings to improve their response to the coronavirus public health rules.

Council enforcement officers have inspected 132 businesses since September 22 – the start of the area's local lockdown – to make sure traders are following the rules designed to stop the spread of Covid-19.

"While many businesses are trying hard to comply with the rules, we will not hesitate to take action against businesses who do not put the requisite 'reasonable measures' in place," a spokesman for Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council told the Argus.

Blaenau Gwent is currently under increased scrutiny due to rising cases of coronavirus. The council area has the highest infection rate in Wales.

The area was placed in local lockdown, along with Newport, last Tuesday.

Since then, the council spokesman said enforcement officers - from the trading standards, licensing, and environmental health teams - had been working seven days a week "to take the necessary actions against businesses who fail to adhere to guidance and put their staff and customers at risk".

The Welsh Government granted councils new enforcement powers in the summer, to coincide with the gradual reopening of the economy.


Since the start of the local lockdown, Blaenau Gwent council has issued 123 "pro-active" warning or guidance letters to licensed businesses, as well as general advice on making improvements to 84 traders.

Councils also have powers to issue Premises Improvement Notices for more serious breaches of the rules.

So far, 10 businesses in Blaenau Gwent have been served with an improvement notice.

The council spokesman said five of those 10 businesses had since made the necessary improvements, resulting in the lifting of those notices.

If businesses fail to make improvements, councils can issue Premises Closure Notices and order the firms to cease trading.

None of these notices have been issued in Blaenau Gwent since September 22, but the council spokesman said seven businesses had "closed voluntarily".