CORONAVIRUS inspections are being carried out on businesses.

Blackburn with Darwen Council will be joining with the Health and Safety Executive to carry out the checks, which will begin with phone calls.

Inspectors will only be sent if the businesses do not cooperate with the process, which the authority hopes will allow firms to function while minimising the risk of infections.

Borough council leader Phil Riley said: “These further checks show that we and the HSE are taking the issue of workplaces being Covid-secure very seriously.

“We have been linked with local businesses and firms to make sure they are following the guidelines and the vast majority are doing this.”

This comes as infection rates have been falling across East Lancashire amid the latest national lockdown, but rates are still relatively high.

The council says that during the checks it will give advice and guidance to manage risk and protect staff, customers and visitors.

However, in cases where businesses are not managing this, the council and HSE will take immediate action ranging from providing more specific advice to issuing enforcement notices and stopping certain work practices until they are made safe.

If businesses then fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.

Councillor Riley said: “It is a legal duty for businesses to protect their staff and customers.”

Business owners can check if their business is Covid-secure and find out what to do if they have any coronavirus cases by visiting www.blackburn.gov.uk/coronavirus/support-business.