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Department store TJ Hughes fined for breaking lockdown rules

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

21 Nov 2020

Department store group TJ Hughes has been fined 17,000 pounds by its local council in Middlesbrough for breaching lockdown rules of non-essential retailers.

The council authority, which didn’t name which store, said it issued several Fixed Penalty Notices and a prohibition notice for failing to close as required under covid-19 regulations.

On Facebook, TJ Hughes’ Middlesbrough store announced that it had “voluntarily” decided to close “until further decisions are made”. According to Middlesbrough Council, some of the retailer’s other stores elsewhere in the country could also face enforcement action.

Middlesbrough’s head of public protection Judith Hedgley said: “We have found a number of shops trading which are not essential retailers. In some cases they have tried to get around the restrictions by selling or claiming to sell a small amount of food, medicines or items that are actually essential. Some shops have even started to sell such items like face coverings then claiming they are essential on this basis. The laws are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Middlesbrough’s infection rate is among the highest in the country. We must all follow the restrictions to stop the spread.”

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said: “Our town needs as short a period of lockdown as possible. The longer restrictions are in place the more damage they will cause. This is about protecting public health and also people’s livelihoods and futures. To everyone who is doing the right thing – thank you. To anyone ignoring the rules, please think about the impact your actions have on Middlesbrough.”

Non-essential retail, including clothing and homeware stores should be closed other than for click-and-collect.

Image TJ Hughes Department store in Liverpool via Wikimedia Commons