New way to report businesses breaking lockdown restrictions

Sunderland City Council is stepping up its efforts to keep residents safe over Easter with the launch of a new tool to help people report concerns about businesses that are flouting lockdown laws. 

A new online form, which is available on the council website, will allow people to report businesses they believe are operating when they should be closed under the Government Covid-19 restrictions, or that are not putting in place appropriate measures to keep employees and customers safe.

Members of the public will be able to log on and make a report in confidence, and the council will investigate the complaint, ensuring that advice is provided to local businesses to help them operate safely as well as supporting concerned residents and employees.  Where businesses continue to break lockdown restrictions, the council has legal powers to issue fixed penalty notices and prohibition notices if necessary, and legal action against businesses who ignore the Government's Coronavirus measures will also be considered.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said that the council would rely on residents to be their eyes and ears, and would take seriously any reports of businesses not adhering to measures put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

He said: “We’re very clear – our priority is to keep people safe, and that relies on everyone doing the right thing and complying with the measures that have been put in place by Government.  This effort is about saving lives, and while we understand the significant pressure that is putting on many businesses, I’m sure we would all agree the safety and wellbeing of residents and employees in this city is key. 

“We are also working hard to support our businesses with the challenges they are facing, and most businesses have clearly shown they understand the measures that are in place must be observed.   In the minority of situations where this is not the case, we will take whatever action we need to ensure everyone is safe.”

Those who have concerns about businesses that are still operating but should be closed as a result of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020,  or that are failing to ensure that staff and customers maintain safe social distancing and hygiene measures, will need to submit details of the business premises, the time of day and the nature of the problem they witnessed.  The report will be shared with Trading Standards and Environmental Health Officers who will investigate further. 

To make a report, visit: