People not wearing face coverings in shops and other enclosed spaces has topped a list of Covid-19 complaints made to councils in Watford and Three Rivers.

Watford Borough Council and Three Rivers District Council have collectively received more than 150 complaints about businesses - many of which relate to PPE and face coverings.

Hundreds of businesses have also been spoken to and although nowhere has been shut down, warnings have been issued.

Watford Borough Council says its environmental health team has received 115 complaints from members of the public about businesses, relating to infection control measures, PPE, face coverings, and social distancing arrangements.

The council clarified many of the complaints were due to a lack of face mask wearing and social distancing by shoppers rather than issues with business arrangements.

Advice has been given to businesses in Watford by the council on 693 occasions with formal action taken twice.

The council did not say where formal action was required but confirmed both came in the form of a written warning - and neither warning was issued within the last two months.

Councils have been given powers to close establishments breaching Covid-19 guidelines and issue fines of up to £10,000.

Watford Observer:

Watford high street

Watford Observer:

intu Watford has strict social distancing measures in place

Three Rivers District Council says it has received 44 Covid-19 complaints about businesses in the district - with many related again to a lack of people wearing face coverings.

The council added advice has been given to businesses on 132 occasions but no formal action has been required.

No businesses have been told to close in Hertsmere, currently an 'area of concern' due its infection rate, either - but one business has been told to make improvements.

A spokesperson for Hertsmere Borough Council said: "Officers have visited a number of establishments across the borough in recent weeks to ensure COVID-19 safe measures are in place, including track and trace.

"Warnings and other interventions have been issued to establishments ranging from cafes and a coffee shop to restaurants and pubs. In one case an improvement notice has been served."

Watford Observer:

A digital advertising board in Watford high street reminds shoppers how to stay safe

Businesses are getting to grips with new rules which have been put in place by the government this week.

This includes making it mandatory for staff in shops to wear face coverings (unless exempt), while pubs, bars, and restaurants must now only offer table service and close at 10pm.

Watford Observer:

A table service sign at a Wetherspoons. Credit: PA

With cases of Covid-19 increasing nationally, Watford's mayor is urging the public to act responsibly.

Peter Taylor said: "In Watford, we continue to be impressed with how the vast majority of businesses are adapting. We have not taken action to close any businesses and we continue to work with partners such as the police to monitor standards and will take enforcement action if necessary.

"However, we are seeing an increasing number of people putting themselves and others at risk. We want to highlight that whatever measures businesses take, if the public do not follow them the disease will continue to spread, which is what we are seeing across the country."

Mr Taylor added: "We are urging our community to take action now to reduce the spread of the virus – please remember to keep your distance, wash your hands regularly and wear a face covering.

"These simple steps will help keep people alive and avoid another full lockdown."