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Covid safety spot checks for New Forest businesses in run-up to lockdown lifting

It is hoped that non-essential retail will open on 12th April
It is hoped that non-essential retail will open on 12th April

SPOT checks are being carried out to ensure New Forest businesses have coronavirus safety measures in place ahead of the lockdown lifting.

Phone calls are being made by New Forest District Council’s environmental health team to local firms to find out what measures they have set up.

They are asked 50 questions which have a simple ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ response. Any firms that fail overall are then called by the Health and Safety Executive – and if they fail again, can be visited by NFDC officers.

Under the plans announced last month, it is hoped that 12th April will see the opening of non-essential retail, hairdressers and public buildings such as libraries and museums. Also opening – if all necessary conditions are met – will be outdoor settings like alcohol takeaways, beer gardens, zoos, theme parks, indoor leisure and self-contained holiday accommodation

Joanne McClay, from the council’s environmental health team, said “Our goal in this is to work with our businesses who have had, and are still having, a tough time.

“We have been advising cafes, restaurants, supermarkets and other workplaces and having ongoing conversations to understand and help them manage the risks based on their specific business activity.

“During the checks we provide advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors. If we find a business not managing the risk, we will take action.”

A NFDC spokesperson highlighted the checks complemented proactive work it has already done contacting and visiting supermarkets, food retailers, care homes, garden centres, DIY stores, plant nurseries, childcare providers, hairdressers and tattooists.

“Throughout the pandemic we have been following up on complaints from members of public as well as business enquiries, and have done site visits when needed,” she added.

It is a legal duty for businesses to protect their workers and others from harm. Anyone concerned Covid-secure measures are not being properly provided by a business can contact eandr@nfdc.gov.uk or 023 8028 5230.

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