A solicitor’s firm in Bolton has had its office closed by the local authorities after it was linked to 18 new cases of Covid-19. Environmental health officers have closed the firm with immediate effect and it will remain closed until Bolton Council are satisfied that improvements and corrective measures have been implemented.
In this case, it was family members of the firm’s employees that alerted the local authorities. A Council spokesman stated that ‘staff were not being informed of Covid-19 cases in the workplace and were being forced to work alongside others who had tested positive’. Environmental health officers inspected the firm and found that seating arrangements did not adhere to social distancing rules and the cleaning standards were ‘unsatisfactory’.
The Bolton Council spokesman added: “Accident Injury Solicitors, on Blackburn Road, was ordered to close immediately on Friday by environmental health officers and will remain shut until improvements have been made”.
Councillor Hilary Fairclough is the Council’s cabinet member for environment regulatory services and she stated: “The restrictions are clear – and in the case of this firm we had no choice but to take action. The firm clearly showed a disregard for the health of their staff and the wider community. We are indebted to members of the public for letting us know about these unsafe practices.
“I urge anyone who has concerns about their place of work, or any business, to let us know so we can investigate. This council takes a zero-tolerance approach to those flouting the Covid-19 rules”.
Bolton has been hit with a tightening of local restrictions in a bid to stop the spread of Coronavirus after recording the highest rate of new cases in the UK. The new Government measures include a ban on mixing outside households in public outdoor settings and all hospitality venues will be required to close between 10pm and 5am. In addition, all restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs will be limited to takeaway only. These restrictions will be enforceable by law.
Councillor David Greenhalgh, The Conservative leader of Bolton Council, said: “This is not something we want to do but it is clear the virus is currently moving round the borough uncontrolled and so we need to halt the transmission rate.
“The rate has gone from 15 cases per 100,000 to over 120 in the space of two weeks, and if we do not get control of the virus now we will continue to put our most vulnerable residents at risk and delay any return to normality. We are working across the council with the Government and our partners to bring down the number of cases of this deadly virus and to continue to press Government for extra support for the hospitality sector as they are once again asked to close their doors.
“The best way to do that is to limit the number of contacts people have. Be under no illusion, we are in this position due to the irresponsible actions of a few which has led to a position where our rates are at a level where Government had no choice but to take action”.