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Call time where businesses aren’t being COVID-secure

by Jonathan Kearney

Knowsley residents should avoid visiting businesses that are not taking measures to be COVID-secure.

Businesses not following Government guidance on operating safely are putting the health of others at risk – their own staff as well as visitors entering their premises.

This includes not putting appropriate social distancing measures in place and failing to keep a record of customers, visitors and staff. This is essential for Test and Trace purposes so that you can be notified if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

By visiting businesses not adhering to COVID-19 regulations you are risking not only your own health but also the health of those around you.

The Government announced further measures to combat the spread of the virus. This includes extending the wearing of face coverings for bar staff and non-seated customers, shop workers and waiters. Fines for not wearing a face covering or following the rules is also increasing from £100 to £200.

Businesses are legally required to take customers’ contact details so they can be traced if there is an outbreak. They can be fined up to £10,000 if they take reservations of more than six, do not enforce social distancing, or do not take customers’ contact details.

Knowsley Council has produced a workplace guidance pack for businesses to ensure they have effective COVID-19 management in place. They can also display a COVID-secure poster to advise customers that they have adequate processes and procedures in place to comply with being a safe employer. The six main points that businesses should have completed to be COVID-secure includes:-

  • Carrying out a COVID-secure risk assessment
  • Develop robust cleaning routines including encouraging regular hand washing and regular cleaning of the premises
  • Help people to work from home
  • Maintain 2m social distancing where possible
  • If people can’t maintain 2m, ensure appropriate steps are in place for everyone’s safety including using screens to separate people, staggering start and finish times and reducing the number of contacts staff come into contact with by keeping teams the same, wearing a face covering where social distancing can’t be maintained.
  • Ensure staff self-isolate if they have COVID-19 symptoms (high temperature, new / persistent cough, loss of taste or smell), if they have tested positive for COVID-19, a member of same household has symptoms or tested positive or they have been advised to self-isolate due to being in close contact with someone that has tested positive.

In addition, there’s useful guidance for businesses on the Government’s website around protecting employees and other people on their site.

Cllr Sean Donnelly, Knowsley Council Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care: “If a business isn’t following the rules then you shouldn’t give them your business. If they haven’t put measures in place to be COVID-secure then they are putting people’s health at risk. Coronavirus poses a serious threat to all of us and it isn’t something anyone should take lightly. We all have a part to play in stopping the spread of the virus. Look out for the Covid-Secure poster and if you don’t see one, don’t visit. If you have concerns about a particular business you should report them to Merseyside Police via 101 or the dedicated section on www.merseyside.police.uk

From Thursday 24 September it’s mandatory for all businesses to support the new NHS COVID-19 App by making a QR code available for customers and visitors to scan. This will allow them to ‘check-in’ and support the NHS Test and Trace programme.

All businesses should also make an alternative method or recording customer contact details available for those without the app.

If you have concerns about non-licensed premises not operating safely, please email environmental.health@knowsley.gov.uk

If you have concerns about licensed premises not operating safely, please email DCRLicensingEnforcementTeam@knowsley.gov.uk

If you’re a Knowsley business needing advice or support on working safely, contact the Business Support helpline at Knowsley Chamber and Knowsley Growth Hub on 0151 477 4000.