Trading standards chiefs warn hotels and holiday lets to stay shut
Trading standards bosses have warned hotels and holidays lets to stay closed until further notice.
Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Despite the current coronavirus lockdown, some people are ignoring government guidelines against non-essential travel and coming to Brighton and Hove to stay in pre-booked holiday accommodation.
“Emergency legislation now in place states that accommodation providers must remain closed to guests until further notice.
“Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar – even for isolation purposes – and holiday property owners must not allow guests to stay.
“If guests who have previously booked accommodation turn up, they should be sent home. They are not permitted, by law, to stay.
“Accommodation providers who flout the law are liable for prosecution and face unlimited fines.
“There are some exemptions to the strict rules, for example, hotels offering accommodation to key workers such as NHS staff and the homeless.”
Councillor Jackie O’Quinn, who chairs the council’s Licensing Committee, said: “There is a clear distinction between what is essential and non-essential travel and the rules are clear.
“Travelling to the city to self-isolate with friends or family or because you’ve booked a break is not essential and will not be tolerated.
“People must remain in their primary residence. Not doing so puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.
“We do not like telling people not to come to our city. It feels fundamentally at odds with everything we usually do.
“But we are in the midst of a global health emergency and we have a legal and moral duty to do everything we can to support the people on the front line who are risking their lives for us. That’s what this is about.
“This is not a holiday and the sooner everyone complies with what we’ve all been asked to do, the sooner we can get back to being the welcoming Brighton and Hove we’re best known for.”
The council added that a business operating in contravention of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 would be committing an offence.
The legal requirement forcing listed businesses to close came into force on Saturday 21 March.
Environmental health and trading standards officers, with police support if appropriate, will work together to issue prohibition notices challenging unsafe behaviours where businesses do not follow these restrictions, the council said. The fines for non-compliance are unlimited.
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Central Hove hostels operating in breach of planning permission by housing permanent, long-term residents in high density dormitory accommodation. Numerous people are living long-term in cramped, dormitory accommodation in local backpackers hostels, with up to 6-10 people in a mixed dorms. Still advertising and taking bookings. The council is very well aware of this and turns a blind eye to the practice despite knowing about planning breaches for years and being alerted to the COVID risk before the lockdown. BHCC failure to act is obvious to everyone in the neighborhood and it is a topic of discussion. Negligence. Too much blind eye turning for too m any years when it comes toe a Central Hove hostels. Especially the so-called “temporary, emergency” accommodation. A circus.