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New laws have been introduced to ensure those businesses ordered to close down by the government in light of the Coronavirus pandemic are doing so.

It is now a legal offence for any of these businesses to be open and North Devon Council now has the power to prosecute any who break the law.

Businesses that have been told to shut are listed on GOV.UK along with the businesses that are exempt.

The council also has powers to enforce social distancing within those businesses that are allowed to open.

Leader of the Council Cllr David Worden says: "This is a very difficult situation we find ourselves in as we don't want to be seen to come down hard on local businesses but this is a matter of national importance and it is critical these types of businesses close down to slow down the spread of this horrendous virus. We are sure that our businesses in North Devon are already doing the right thing but this safety net is there for anyone acting irresponsibly and flouting the law."

Head of Environmental Health Jeremy Mann says: "We very much hope that businesses will comply with the requirements of the regulations given the seriousness of this pandemic and we would like to know if there are any places open that should not be or if any premises that are allowed to be open are not putting measures in place to protect their workforce."

Anyone who wants to report a business for continuing to trade or for not implementing social distancing should contact the council preferably via online form or call 01271 327711 or email customerservices@northdevon.gov.uk.