Lichfield’s MP has said a move by council officials to order a local business to tear up tape marking social distancing was “neither fair nor sensible”.
The independent retailer – which has asked not to be named – was told by Lichfield District Council to remove the markings from the pavement outside the premises over fears it could be a trip hazard.
With Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlining the first steps to move the country out of lockdown, Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said there needed to be consistency to allow businesses to trade effectively.
“Using common sense not only applies to social distancing, it also applies to Government civil servants and local council officials during this lock-down.
“Banks and other institutions are taping out areas on the pavement to ensure social distancing when queing for ATM machines, so for council officials to pick on a small trader in isolation is neither fair nor sensible.
“I really do think that officials need to act consistently or else their judgment will be called into grave doubt.”Michael Fabricant MP
Lichfield District Council said it was “urgently reviewing” guidelines after the incident.
But Cllr Angela Lax, cabinet member for legal and regulatory services, did not outline whether the tape outside the business could be reinstated.
“This case has highlighted that we urgently need to review our guidance to businesses to reflect the changing landscape we are in.
“We are working with Staffordshire County Council to make sure the guidance is updated following the latest advice as soon as possible.
“We are also looking at how we can improve our communications with businesses to make sure we are supportive and helpful.
“We would like to encourage businesses to get in touch with us if they need help as they adapt to new ways of working.”Cllr Angela Lax, Lichfield District Council