COVID 19 - incident reporting

Have you received a scam phone call? Are you aware of a business that is operating and should not be? Have you seen websites offering fake cures or have you received fake face marks? Please tell us about it.

Trading Standards and COVID-19

12 April saw an easing of the national lockdown restrictions.

There were no changes to the requirments for services (e.g. gas engineers or car servicing) but we saw the opening of:

  • non-essential retail (including clothing, books, car washes, gifts and cards etc.;
  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and
  • public buildings, including libraries and community centres.
  • indoor leisure facilities such as gyms (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups);
  • most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas.
  • Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
  • Hospitality venues (such as pubs and cafes) will be allowed to serve people outdoors, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated ('table service').

Social distancing measures remain in place for all open businesses.

In order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 in Milton Keynes we would like to be informed of Milton Keynes businesses that are operating illegally. This could be to report hospitality venues serving customers indoors or failure to wear face masks by shop staff. To report a business please email us at covidconcern@milton-keynes.gov.uk.

If you are a business and would like advice on the Regulations please do not hesitate to email us at covidconcern@milton-keynes.gov.uk.

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Face Coverings

The wearing of face coverings is still compulsory when you are in shops (or shopping centres) or moving around inside venues such as bars and restaurants.

Trading Standards are experiencing a number of issues with illegal face masks being sold in this country. Face masks and face coverings are treated differently.

A face mask that is presented as personal protective equipment must carry the CE mark - this means it has been independently tested to ensure it meets the legal standard. If you see KN95 or Chinese standard number GB2626 on your mask, these masks have not been independently tested and it is illegal to sell them in this country. If you do have one, you can use it as a face covering if you wish, but if you have purchased any to sell, you should return them to your supplier for a refund immediately.

If you have bought a face mask which does not carry the CE Mark you can report it to us using the online form.

We are also receiving information about face masks which carry the CE Mark, but these claims have proven to be false, so the mask has not been independently tested. Again these masks are illegal. In order to reduce the risk of buying a 'fake' CE Marked mask, always buy from a reputable retailer.

If you are a small business or a manufacturer wishing to supply masks please read the Government guidance on their website.

Face coverings can be as simple as a scarf wrapped around the face but the government has issued some guidance if you are thinking of making a face covering at home which you can read on the Gov.UK website.

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QR codes/Test and Trace.

Businesses involved the following sectors are still required to register for a QR Code, which must be displayed for a customer to scan as, or immediately after, they enter the premises. This is to assist with the NHS Test and Trace service.

  • hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas and amusement arcades
  • close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
  • facilities provided by local authorities, including community centres, libraries and village halls.

It has already been reported that some phones are not compatible with the system, and some people won't have a smart phone at all, so under those circumstances the business should ask for the name and phone number of the customer (this could be an email address if no phone number is available, or a postal address if neither a phone nor email is available), the date and time should be noted and the number of people in the group.

The business should keep these details securely for 21 days, after which it should be destroyed. If disclosure is requested by the Secretary of State or the local Public Health Officer, the information must be provided (for the purposes of trying to reduce the spread of the virus).

A business has a legal obligation to refuse entry to customers who do not comply with the test and trace requirements. This means that the business can take reasonable steps to prevent entry into the premises.

Offences for breaching these requirements are punishable by fine on summary conviction or a fixed penalty charge notice ranging from £500 to £4000.

Please visit the Gov.UK website for the full guidance.

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Scams

We would also like to hear about any scam business that

  • appears to be making misleading claims in relation to Coronavirus, such as products or services which can cure COVID-19 (e.g. fake offers of a COVID-19 vaccine); or
  • falsely describes goods or services in relation to COVID-19. This could include selling goods that are not what they say they are, for example, hand sanitiser that appears to be counterfeit or traders selling protective face masks without a CE Mark on them (decorative face coverings do not need to have the CE mark unless the seller claims that they will protect you from viral or bacterial infection).
  • any caller falsely claiming to be associated with the NHS Test and Trace scheme, especially if they ask you for a payment or credit card details etc.

Report an incident -If you feel that you have been the victim of a scam related to COVID-19 and you need some assistance from a consumer advisor, you should instead contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service online or call Freephone 0808 223 1133. They will give advice and also pass the details you provide to Trading Standards.

Concerns regarding businesses which are operating illegally, social distancing, issues regarding the non wearing of face masks by staff in businesses, or any other COVID-19 related issue should be sent by email to covidconcern@milton-keynes.gov.uk. Thank you.

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Last Updated: 12 April 2021