Oxford City Council has fined two fast food takeaways, KFC and Bodrum Kebab, both in Cowley Road, £1,000 for breaking coronavirus law.
Staff at both businesses were caught taking orders and serving customers at their doors after 10pm.
Although takeaways can continue operating after 10pm using a delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru, the law forbids them from taking orders and serving food in their premises or at their door after 10pm.
The aim is to stop fast food takeaways forming crowds outside their premises after pubs and bars close at 10pm.
Action taken after complaints from public
City Council officers visited both takeaways following complaints from members of the public about the businesses continuing to serve after 10pm.
The officers then witnessed:
- KFC staff serving customers and taking orders at the door at 11.40pm on 28 September
- people inside KFC Cowley Road and staff taking orders at the door at 10.45pm on 30 September
- allowing customers into KFC Cowley Road and taking orders at the door at 10.58pm on 2 October
City Council officers also witnessed Bodrum Kebab staff serving customers and taking orders at the door on the street at 11.59pm on 2 October.
Both companies were issued with the £1,000 fine on 6 October.
The City Council has the power to fine businesses up to £10,000 for breaking the coronavirus laws, but chose to issue a smaller fine as this was a first offence for both businesses.
First fines of new Covid Secure Team
The City Council enforcement officers are part of the new Covid Secure Team formed last month (September) within Oxford and countywide, to help businesses comply with the new rules and give the public peace of mind when out and about.
Alongside providing information and support, the Oxford team also carries out night-time patrols of the city centre, Cowley Road and other hotspots to provide advice and ensure businesses are following the rules.
Some of their key activities over recent weeks have included:
- helping businesses register on the NHS Covid-19 app and display their QR code
- checking that businesses are adhering to the rule of six, wearing facemasks and avoiding crowding
- making sure that businesses are closed and clear of customers by 10pm
- checking Oxford’s parks to make sure that if people are congregating outdoors the rule of six is still being adhered to
- acting as the first response in call-outs of complaints over house parties within the city.
The Covid Secure Team is a joint initiative by all Oxfordshire’s councils and is backed by Government funding. The team works closely with Thames Valley Police and both universities.
KFC Cowley Road and Bodrum Kebab are the first fines issued by the Covid Secure Team.
Residents can report issues and concerns by email to the Covid Secure Team.
Oxford businesses informed of law change
The City Council wrote to more than 1,500 businesses across Oxford to inform them of the Government’s new laws to restrict opening hours and provide information and support about how to comply with the rules.
City Council officers then followed this up by visiting takeaways, pubs and bars in Cowley Road – including KFC and Bodrum Kebab – in person on 20 September to inform them of the new rules.
“Our Covid Secure Team has been out and about across Oxford for several weeks and the vast majority of businesses are complying with the new rules.
“We’ve been particularly impressed with the pubs and bars in the city centre, many of which have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.
“But any businesses that break the coronavirus rules are irresponsibly making the city less safe for everyone, and they should know that we will take action against them.
“I would like to thank the members of the public who reported KFC Cowley Road and Bodrum to us, and encourage anyone who has concerns about a business in Oxford not complying with coronavirus rules to contact us.”
Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for a Safer, Healthy Oxford