A new drive to keep customers and employees safe in Hull’s supermarkets will see Coronavirus safety checks carried out by the council’s Public Protection Team and Covid Marshals.
Officers will visit supermarkets and similar shops, and assess whether measures in place are adequate. Those which fail to meet the necessary safety standards will be told they must improve, and advice will be given.
The visits are also intended to reassure the public, and provide any necessary assurance and support to businesses.
Under the current lockdown, only essential retailers are open to the public as part of nationwide measure to control the virus. The Council is also reminding customers that they have a key role to play and must do all they can to shop safely and responsibly.
Khaled Choudhury, Principal Environmental Health Officer, said: “We’ve written to local supermarkets and other shops to let them know we’ll be making these visits and checking how effectively they’ve implemented Covid-19 safety measures.
“These businesses and all of us who shop at them have a vital role to play in reducing risk of transmission in the community. If we find somewhere that doesn’t have adequate protection in place, we’ll let them know what they need to do and can provide the necessary advice and support to make improvements. If necessary, there are enforcement measures we could use to ensure standards are improved, but this is about working constructively with local businesses and supporting them to be as safe as possible.”
“The role of shoppers in stopping the transmission of the virus to others cannot be underestimated and we will also be working to ensure everyone understands what they must do to protect themselves and others while shopping”.
Cllr Mike Thompson, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection, said: “The aim of these visits is to improve safety for everyone, staff and customers, and to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading through our communities as much as possible. We have been under varying degrees of restrictions for a long time now and it’s easy to let things slide or unwittingly become complacent. However, remaining vigilant is the most important thing all of us can do.
“The work of the team will place Coronavirus safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds, identify where improvements need to be made and provide the relevant support. With lockdown in place, shopping is the one interaction most of us are unable to avoid completely so it really is vital that it is as safe as it can possibly be”.
The steps everyone must take when shopping are:
- Shop alone wherever possible
- Wear a mask, unless you are exempt – a number of shops now refuse entry to those who refuse to use a face covering
- Use hand sanitiser where it is available
- Stay two metres away from others at all times
- Follow any safety advice in place in individual shops – for example one-way systems or markers for queuing
- Use contactless payments wherever possible
- Shop as infrequently as you can
- Sanitise your basket or trolley where this is offered
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth
- Do not stop to chat
- Do not touch items unnecessarily.
Businesses have been sent a checklist of safety measures to assist them do their own assessment and put measures in place. Government guidance on Coronavirus safety is also available and can be found online here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches
Business owners can also seek support from the Public Protection Team, and members of the public can report a business they believe is not observing safety standards, using this form on the council website: http://www.hull.gov.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-business-advice-and-support/coronavirus-covid-19-information-businesses.
[Michael Berriman – Hull City Council]