Greater Manchester authorities vow to crackdown on pubs and shops flouting Covid-19 restrictions

Greater Manchester is currently under new lockdown restrictions. Credit: PA

Authorities in Greater Manchester have vowed to crack down on pubs, restaurants and supermarkets continually flouting Covid-19 regulations.

Targeted enforcement will take place at establishments where social distancing is not taking place and customers are not wearing face coverings.

New lockdown restrictions were introduced in the region from midnight on July 31, as well as other parts of northern England, following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

It led to Greater Manchester Police's busiest weekend for coronavirus-related calls in nine weeks with reports of more than 750 illegal gatherings.

Among the new rules is a ban on people from different households meeting in a private home or garden.

It is mandatory for people to wear face masks in shops, with more rules coming into force on August 8. Credit: PA

Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council, and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham conceded on Wednesday it would be difficult for police to enforce households not mixing but promised action would be taken over repeat breaches by pubs, restaurants and supermarkets.

Sir Richard said:

He added: "The test for pubs and restaurants is whether they are taking the reasonable measures they are expected to. So if it's restaurants - do they have disposable menus, are they only putting cutlery out when they are serving people, do they have sanitisers, are their tables two metres apart?

"Do we expect them to interrogate their customers to make sure they are all in the same houeshold or the same bubble? Well no, not really, as individuals do need to take some responsibility."

He said that in some cases the authorities would also ensure the owners of outlets - such as breweries - were also taking responsibility for what was happening on their premises.

Mr Burnham said: "The priority will be targeted enforcement of repeat offenders. It builds on an approach we took when there was concern about house parties.

"Greater Manchester Police worked very effectively with our councils in identifying addresses that were repeat offenders and action was taken."