COUNCIL bosses say they do not want to become the “fun police” but warned they will use new powers to shut down events and close venues without notice if they have to.

Local authorities have been granted the emergency powers - which can be used with Government consent - to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in their area.

It was one of a number of moves announced by Boris Johnson as the PM sought to further relax to coronavirus restrictions across England.

He said giving councils the powers to instil “lightning lockdowns” means action on outbreaks or potential outbreaks can be taken quicker

The rules could even allow town hall bosses to ban weddings and other gatherings at short notice.

Southend Council has said it has been working closely with businesses to ensure safety measures are being practised but the new enforcements would be “another tool in the box”.

Martin Terry, councillor or community safety and customer contact, said: “We’ve made it clear as a council we don’t want to be the fun police.

“But anyone who is behaving badly is letting everyone down, letting the town down and themselves and putting residents in danger.

““So far we’ve done very well and kept the local infection rate down but if someone does start behaving irresponsibly and running their business in a dangerous way, they would get a visit from Environmental Health or the police, but we don’t want that to happen.

“I would urge everyone to continue to following the Government’s advice as the last thing any of us, or businesses, want is to have a local lockdown. It would be an absolute disaster for the local economy.”

Mr Terry added: “It’s another tool in the box if you like.

“We’ve been proactively working with local businesses - we set up a virtual stakeholders group - and we’ve working before working since before the first announcement to keep Southend safe and secure.

“Keep doing the right things and keep social distancing and keep following the rules.”

Basildon Mayor, David Burton-Sampson, added: “It’s a good move forward for councils to have that power should things start to break out in particular areas, but hopefully it’s a power that [we] will never have to use and I’m sure our residents would understand that if it does have to be used, it’s for a very particular reason – the last thing we want is a further spike of cases within in our borough.”

“Keep doing the right things and keep social distancing and keep following the rules.

“Lets hope the Government’s plan for further unlocking of the lockdown can go safely to plan and that’s down to us all to make sure that happens - everybody has responsibility to get this right.”

Speaking at Number 10 on Friday, the Prime Minister will outline more of the road map to unlock the country.