Council threatens Asda store with closure for coronavirus rule breach

By Hannah Neary, Local Democracy Reporter

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Asda store, Pyle (Photo: Google Maps)

Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) has threatened a local Asda store with closure for failing to comply with coronavirus regulations.

Enforcement officers served an improvement notice to Asda supermarket in Pyle, Bridgend, because the layout of the store did not allow people to follow social distancing.

Officers from the Shared Regulatory Service (SRS) – a partnership between Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan councils – said the layout at the entrance to the store did not allow customers to follow social distancing.

According to BCBC, customers entering on one side of the supermarket were having to cross paths with others to comply with a one-way system.

Enforcement officers issued the supermarket with an improvement notice on Thursday October 15. It was lifted the following day after staff made changes to the layout of the store as requested by the SRS.

A spokesperson for Asda said: “After working collaboratively with the local authority we have been able to make small changes to the one-way system at our Pyle store which makes it easier for our customers and colleagues to maintain two-metre social distancing at all times.”

So far, officers have issued seven improvement notices to businesses in Bridgend County Borough for failing to comply with coronavirus guidelines. Three businesses have also been closed temporarily for not following the rules.

Under Welsh Government guidelines, businesses must make sure their customers and staff can maintain a two-metre distance while inside our waiting to enter their premises. They must also inform customers and staff about  how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus.

Cllr Dhanisha Patel said SRS staff “have been proactively visiting premises across the county borough and are offering support and advice to ensure businesses can meet their responsibilities in keeping staff and customers safe during the pandemic”.

She added: “We know the majority of businesses are complying with regulations and enforcement officers have no concerns at all about the measures in place at these premises.”

Improvement notices usually require a business take measures that comply with the regulations within 48 hours. If they continue to break the rules, officers can close the business, or part of it, for up to 14 days.

According to BCBC, officers may close a business immediately without serving an improvement notice first if there has been “a sufficiently serious breach of regulations”.