Complaints about East Sussex businesses not following Covid rules


Residents across East Sussex are being urged to continue to follow the rules

Residents across the county are being urged to continue to follow the rules after East Sussex Trading Standards received nearly 1,000 complaints during the last year about individuals or businesses not following the regulations.

Since Covid-19 restrictions came into force in March 2020, members of the public have reported businesses such as gyms and hairdressers continuing to trade during tier restrictions and the national lockdowns.

There have also been complaints about workers failing to observe social distancing, shops charging inflated prices for in-demand items such as hand sanitiser and PPE, and companies not refunding customers after cancellations.

Richard Strawson, East Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said:

The vast majority of businesses across the county are following the rules, which are there to keep everyone safe.

We understand it is hard and that you might be desperate for a haircut or worrying how you will get your business back on its feet again, but that does not mean you can ignore the regulations.

We will continue to work with Sussex Police and our colleagues in Environmental Health to make sure that businesses and individuals are sticking to the rules, and we will not hesitate to take action where necessary.

Richard Strawson, Trading Standards Team Manager
Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health at East Sussex County Council

Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health at East Sussex County Council, said:

The Government has made it clear that each stage of the easing of restrictions will depend on continuing falls in infection rates reducing the pressure on the NHS, the success and effectiveness of the vaccine programme, and the assessment of the risks posed by new variants.

With this in mind, now is not the time to ignore the guidelines. Everyone needs to continue to stick to the rules – hands, face, space – even if they have been vaccinated, so we can keep the infection rate dropping, protect the vulnerable members of our communities and get life back to normal as soon as possible.

Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health

In recent months action has been taken against the owners of a gym who were allowing people to train during lockdown, and three businesses have been served prohibition notices. In February, a barber’s shop was found open and the owner given a £1,000 fine after continuing to offer haircuts.

The first changes to social contact restrictions will not take place until 29th March at the earliest, when outdoor gatherings of either six people (the Rule of 6) or two households will be allowed.

Shops are not expected to be able to reopen before 12th April, which is also when businesses such as hairdressers and nail salons may be permitted to reopen their doors.

How to report your concerns about businesses in East Sussex not following the rules:

People can report their concerns about businesses or individuals that may be continuing to operate despite the restrictions to East Sussex Trading Standards.

Government’s Roadmap

Monday 29th March:

As part of step one, there will be further limited changes. Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed, providing greater flexibility for friends and families to see each other over Easter (2nd – 5th April). This includes in private gardens.

Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, will be allowed to reopen, and people can take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

Monday 12th April:

No earlier than 12th April in step two, non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, will reopen.

Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances will also be permitted.

Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen – but only for use by people on their own or with their household.

Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only. There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and no curfew – although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.

Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.

Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (from six).

Monday 17th May:

In step three, not before 17th May:-

  • Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
  • Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen. Indoors, the rule of six or two households will apply – although the Government have said they will keep this under review.
  • Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.
  • Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).
  • In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
  • Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. Other life events that will be permitted include bar mitzvahs and christenings.


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