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City council blocks entrance to barbershop with sandbags after business "repeatedly ignored orders to close" over Covid breaches

The entrance to a barbershop in York has been barricaded with sandbags by City of York Council after the owners who were breaching Covid safety measures failed to comply with council directions to close.

The council said it placed the sandbags across the doors as an "immediate short term measure to help prevent the shop being easily opened to the public again".

York initially served a direction on the barbers at 31 Bishopthorpe Road, which required them to close from 18:00 on 13 May 2021 to 18:00 on 20 May 2021 so that they could put in place the necessary Covid safety measures. According to York, the order was made to address repeated breaches of Covid rules.

On 21 May, the council chose to escalate their approach following a number of complaints and due to non-compliance, and served a further direction on the business and its two directors.

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The direction required them to close the premises until 23:50 on 17 July 2021 when the current regulations expire or until they could demonstrate that they had complied with the requirements of coronavirus legislation.

Upon the announcement of the second direction, Matt Boxall, Head of Public Protection at City of York Council, said: "It is deeply frustrating that we are having to continue to work with Q Gentlemans Barbers in this way. Fixed penalty tickets also issued to them and designed to resolve matters without them becoming criminal convictions in court, also remain unpaid. Compliance is undoubtedly better for public safety and for business."

A week later, on 27 May, the council said it received information that the business had regained entry to the premises and was making preparations to open again to the public in contravention of the direction issued. As a result, York decided to block the entrance to the property.

Commenting on the development on 28 May, Mr Boxall said: "We have therefore taken the step of placing sandbags across the door as an immediate short term measure to help prevent the shop being easily opened to the public again.

"It has been made very clear to the owners that upon demonstrating to the council that the owners can operate in a Covid secure manner the restrictions will be lifted. We thank the public for the overwhelming messages of support for the action"

Adam Carey

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