£300,000 investment to boost Covid enforcement work across the county
With Covid-19 cases continuing to rise across Gloucestershire, the county council, through the Government’s Test and Trace grant, has funded six new Covid-19 Compliance Officers to help businesses do all they can to minimise the spread of the virus.
£300,000 of the £2.2m Government grant has been used to fund the new officers - one located within each district - to provide additional support to the local enforcement teams and ensure Covid compliance across the county. This supplements the vast amount of work environmental health have been doing since lockdown in March; making sure that business closures were complied with, guiding businesses to re-open and helping the public to understand the rules and guidance.
Since the start of September, local environmental health officers have worked closely with more than 550 businesses in Gloucestershire to make sure they have the support they need to manage the risks linked to Covid-19. This includes: advice around the rule of six, test and trace, face coverings, and social distancing.
The officers will have a range of new and existing legal powers where measures are consistently not being met – up until now the need for formal action to be taken has been low as businesses work hard to ensure they are Covid-secure.
So far, two Health and Safety Notices have been served for not having adequate measures in place to control risk of Covid and one £1000 Fixed Penalty Notice has been issued for not displaying the Coronovirus NHS QR code or taking contact details.
Ongoing activity will also include:
- Continuing to engage with and provide advice to businesses on managing the risks from Covid-19 in the community
- Identifying trends and collecting insight on business sectors needing additional support to comply with safe workplace requirements, and;
- Further Covid prevention activities including: street walks, spot checks and drop in clinics
Leader of the county council, Councillor Mark Hawthorne, said: “It’s a difficult time for us all and, in particular for our county businesses, who are all working hard to implement the crucial prevention measures – but it is important that we stick with it.
“Our environmental health officers are there to help businesses; to provide advice and guidance, but also to enforce the guidance, where there is no other choice. I want to thank our district enforcement teams for the work they are already doing to help slow the spread of the virus - and our local business community – keep it up.”
For more information about how to keep yourselves and others safe visit the county’s Covid webpages: www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/covid-19-information-and-advice