DUDLEY Council chiefs have warned pubs that are caught flouting the coronavirus lockdown could be closed permanently.

The warning comes as the local authority has received reports that some premises in the borough are defying the regulations and staying open or in some cases having ‘lock ins’ for locals.

Pubs, bars and clubs were officially ordered to close by the government on March 20 in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Chiefs say the council’s environmental health and trading standards officers will be working with the local police and licensing enforcement officers to enforce the closure rules.

Compliance visits are being made across the borough and any premises found to be in breach will be served with a prohibition notice, which if not complied with will result in prosecution with unlimited fines, as well as loss of licence. 
Fixed penalty fines are also being issued which double in amount for each subsequent offence.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member responsible for public health and wellbeing, said: "This is uncharted territory for us all but the instruction is very clear, we must stay at home. We all need to play our part in the fight against coronavirus.

"It is unbelievable that a week since pubs, clubs and bars were told to close that some are still defying the rules. These businesses and the people using them are risking their own lives and the lives of others.

"We will not think twice about acting against those premises who think the rules don’t apply to them. This is a final warning to them all.

"Any premises found to be in breach in Dudley borough will not only face legal action but also the revocation of their alcohol licence, meaning that the business will be closed permanently."

Anyone with information about premises in breach of the regulations can report it confidentially to Dudley Council Plus on 0300 555 2345