Councils have been given powers to ensure pubs and restaurants take their customers’ contact details, and will administer new support funding for people on low incomes to help them self-isolate.
With coronavirus cases rising, the Government has made a series of announcements on new COVID-19 restrictions and support for those affected by the pandemic, including a new wage support scheme to replace furlough when it ends on 31 October.
Following calls from the LGA, hospitality businesses are now legally required to collect customer contact information to help with track and trace in the event of an outbreak, and councils can bring prosecutions for breaches of safety guidance (which are now legal obligations) and issue fixed penalty fines.
Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “While most businesses are implementing the necessary measures to protect people’s safety, we are pleased the Government has acted on LGA calls for councils to have powers to take action when rules are being flouted.
“These measures will mean they can act quickly and proactively in cracking down on places that flout COVID-19 guidance, instead of only being able to act when it is too late.”
The Government has also created a new legal duty for people to self-isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been traced as a close contact of someone who has.
Those on lower incomes who are self-isolating and cannot work from home, and who would consequently lose pay, will receive a payment of £500. Councils will be responsible for distributing the payments and for administering a discretionary fund for vulnerable individuals who fall outside the scheme.
The LGA has warned that “urgent clarity” is needed on how councils will be reimbursed for the costs of setting up these schemes.