Heathway Cash & Carry ordered to close by council and police for Covid breaches
A Cash & Carry in Dagenham that has repeatedly broken coronavirus rules and been doubling up as a substandard hotel has been told to close down by Barking and Dagenham Council’s enforcement team and police officers.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Heathway Cash & Carry, 241 Heathway, Dagenham has received a number of warnings for breaches of Covid regulations but continued to flout the rules.
This was no different on Saturday 13 February, when police officers entered the shop during a routine foot patrol and discovered the shop to be appallingly dirty and members of staff were not wearing face coverings on the shop floor.
While speaking to the store manager, officers took the opportunity to go to the back of the shop and what they discovered was ‘truly shocking’. Not only were there bags of rubbish, cigarette butts and discarded chicken wings on the floor, there was evidence of the use of a blowtorch over the wooden floor and fire exits were completely blocked by stacked boxes, they also discovered that rooms attached to the warehouse were being used as lodgings for workers.
One lodger said he pays £50 a week in rent for a bed in the corner of the staff room, which comes straight from his wages. He also mentioned he had been living there for a year and shares the room with one other worker, who sleeps on the sofa.
Three further rooms were also identified as being used as bedsits for people.
Following the findings of this visit and the Covid breaches, the Cash & Carry was served with a Direction Notice by council enforcement officers and the police on Friday 19 February to close for a minimum of 7 days, which can be extended to 14 days, as the current issues pose a serious risk to public health.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “Not only was this business continuously ignoring coronavirus regulations, but it was putting the health and safety of residents at risk through the utterly appalling conditions they were working and living in.”
“Throughout the pandemic, we have made it clear that we won’t stand for businesses not following the rules and it’s completely unfair on those that are doing as they should.”
For the shop to reopen, the following measures will need to be implemented:
1. It must be mandatory that all staff are wearing face coverings.
2. Ensure the businesses is not used for residential purposes
3. Ensure they are operating in a Covid secure way
An inspection will take place to make sure these steps have been taken as well as checking that the conditions of the business have been dramatically improved.