From 12 April, outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafés, restaurants, bars, pubs, social and member’s clubs), non-essential retail, leisure and personal care businesses such as hairdressers and nail salons, can reopen. To ensure this happens as safely as possible, officers from our Food and Safety Team will be working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to provide guidance.
Checks are currently being undertaken on businesses that are already allowed to be open and will be extended to ones that are due to open in the coming weeks.
These checks are made by telephone and with follow-up visits where required; this will ensure businesses are given the necessary advice to help them manage risk and protect their workers, customers and visitors. Where there are significant failings, or if businesses are not prepared to take necessary action, then enforcement action will have to be taken. This can range from the use of enforcement notices or stopping certain work practices until they are made safe, or ultimately, prosecution.
Mark Sims, East Suffolk Council’s Food and Safety Manager, said: “Officers are talking to local businesses and visiting sites in and around East Suffolk to understand how they are managing risks in line with their specific business activity.
“Many local businesses have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure they are ready to reopen as safely as possible next week and becoming Covid-secure needs to be the priority for all businesses in the district. It is a legal duty for businesses to protect their workers and others from harm and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk and protect people from coronavirus. This may mean making some new adjustments to become Covid-secure. We advise employers to work with their employees when implementing changes, to help increase confidence with workers, customers and the local community.
“Any business can receive an unannounced spot check to ensure they are Covid-secure, regardless of size or sector. By making sure that businesses have measures in place to manage the risks, we can benefit the health of the local community as well as support the local and national economy.”
HSE works with a range of partners to undertake face-to-face visits to premises. All HSE representatives will carry identification and a letter of authorisation. If you receive a spot check and would like to verify the contact, please call 0300 790 6896.
During previous checks, some of the common issues found included failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing, and failing to introduce an adequate cleaning regime, particularly at busy times of the day.
Businesses are advised to check the latest government guidance for their business type to help keep Covid-secure: www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19