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Report a business that's open when it shouldn't be


What to do if businesses are open when they shouldn't be or are raising their prices unfairly.

Reporting a business that's open when it shouldn't be

As a result of the current Coronavirus outbreak the Government has passed emergency legislation which requires some businesses to remain closed until further notice.

Gov.uk: closing certain businesses and venues

Specifically, those that should remain closed are:

  • retailers including car showrooms, auction houses, hair, beauty and nail salons and piercing and tattoo parlours
  • hotels, hostels, campsites, boarding houses, caravan parks, bed and breakfasts (unless providing accommodation for key workers and people whose primary home is unavailable, or those who live permanently in caravan parks)
  • leisure businesses such as nightclubs, bingo halls, spas, massage parlours, casinos, arcades, betting shops and soft play areas
  • pubs, restaurants, wine bars and cafes (unless they offer takeaway services only)

There are exemptions which remain open including:

  • supermarkets, food retailers and takeaways
  • pharmacies
  • petrol stations
  • banks, building societies and post offices

There are also other service and manufacturing businesses that can continue to operate at this time, and many will undertake activities where it is not possible for those staff to work from home. In such circumstances, employers are expected to follow the latest government guidance, including social distancing measures, in an effort to keep their staff safe. This is guidance, and therefore not legally enforceable: Gov.uk: Staying at home and away from others (social distancing)

If you are aware of a business which remains open despite national guidance saying it should close, please report this to covidcompliance@durham.gov.uk.

In some situations, we may not be the relevant enforcement agency to deal with your enquiry. We may need to refer you to partner agencies or other regulators who will be better placed to deal with your issue.

Unfair business practices

The Competition and Markets Authority has developed a form to allow you to report businesses if you think they acting unfairly during the Coronavirus outbreak. This could be a business raising prices unfairly when selling to customers or to other businesses, or a business making misleading claims about their products or identity.

Competitions and Markets Authority: Tell us about a business you think is acting unfairly during the Coronavirus outbreak

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