Blackpool Council has officially declared ‘major incident’ status for the resort in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The move gives senior officers emergency powers to make rapid decisions on issues deemed important to maintain public safety.
An enforcement team, made up of members of the licensing, trading standards and other public protection teams, has also formally been granted powers to ensure businesses comply with government closure orders governing pubs, clubs etc.
It means they can issue a notice telling a premises to close if it should not be open. If the business fails to comply they can be prosecuted.
All council meetings are now suspended but chief executive Neil Jack will hold a weekly conference call with council leader Coun Simon Blackburn and opposition group leaders including Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams, and Independent group leaders Coun Gary Coleman and Coun Maxine Callow.
A council report says the delegated powers relate to decisions ” in response to
issues caused directly or indirectly from the coronavirus pandemic and would protect citizens in regard to public safety”.
It adds: “The delegated authority will be temporary, proportionate to the threat, will only be used when strictly necessary and will be in place for as long as required to respond to the situation.”
The delegated powers have been agreed under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.
The enforcement team will operate to uphold the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 which
require the closure of businesses selling food or drink for consumption on the
They also require the closure of other listed premises frequented by the public to protect against the risks to public health arising from coronavirus.