DORSET Police and BCP Council workers are carrying out visits to local supermarkets amid concerns about retailers failing to comply with Covid-19 regulations.
Large stores and other retail businesses account for most of the 69 complaints made to the council’s Environmental Health and Trading Standards teams during the start of January, said the council.
There have been reports of customers failing to socially distance or wear face coverings, with fears the virus can spread easily if rules are not followed.
Thanking the majority of people following the regulations, Dorset Police Supt Heather Dixey said the visits were not “to carry out enforcement, but to help support our businesses and partner agencies”.
But she continued: “We will intervene if anti-social behaviour is associated with non-compliance by a member of the public.
“Everyone is being asked to do their bit to help protect the NHS and save lives.”
The joint visits, in collaboration with dedicated Covid marshals, have been set up to help ensure the stores are safe for shoppers.
As well as engagement with management and the public, environmental health and trading standards officers will assess regulation compliance on-site.
They will check how the number of people entering is monitored, as well as measures such as two-metre distancing, cleaning schedules and swab tests.
Retail visits have already seen staff close off non-essential clothing, homeware and concession areas, stop click-and-collect services and strengthen approaches to face covering requirements.
Some have deployed security guards or Covid marshals to manage customer numbers and keep shoppers safe.
As well as remembering the ‘hands-face-space’ rule, people are urged to plan their supermarket visits to minimise outings, shop alone, only touch items they are buying, and pay by card.
Clinically extremely vulnerable or shielding people who cannot get delivery slots or support with shopping can call the BCP Council Together We Can helpline on 0300 123 7052.