Businesses across Northamptonshire are being reminded of their role in helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus in our communities.
Government regulations to tackle the virus came into force on 23 March, limiting activities or closing premises where prolonged social contact occurs, particularly with members of the public.
The measures closed all businesses where food or drink is sold for consumption on the premises, such as cafes, restaurants and pubs, as well as a range of other businesses in the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors.
Those which can remain open, including supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations, post offices, banks and takeaways, are expected to help staff and customers to adhere to the rules on social distancing. Businesses are asked to ensure that social distancing measures are in place to protect staff and customers, both inside and outside the building, and to ensure that any queues outside are also carefully managed to ensure they do not become crowded.
Environmental Health and Licensing teams at district and borough councils across the county are working with Northamptonshire Police to ask businesses to join the fight on coronavirus by taking appropriate actions to ensure the safety of staff and customers.
Business owners are also being offered guidance and advice to help them understand how the regulations apply to them, and this can be found on their local District or Borough Council website, or by contacting their local Environmental Health and Licensing team directly. People can also visit their local council's website for information about the range of financial support that is available to them during this period.
Environmental Health and Licensing officers from across Northamptonshire are carrying out monitoring visits, with advice given in the first instance if businesses are found to be in breach of the regulations. However, businesses are being reminded that officers have the power to take further action relating to premises which fail to comply.
Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health (Northamptonshire), said:
"We appreciate this is a difficult time for the local economy however businesses have a crucial role to play in the fight against coronavirus, and by following these measures they are helping to protect the people of Northamptonshire.
"We recognise that the rapid introduction of these measures has caused concern and confusion for some businesses, so we want to provide guidance and assistance where necessary to help owners understand how the regulations apply to them. We would also like to reassure the public that businesses which are found to be deliberately ignoring these measures will face appropriate action."
A full list of business premises which should be closed, together with information on the measures businesses which are still open should follow, can be found on the gov.uk website.
Businesses can reach their local Environmental Health & Licensing team at East Northamptonshire Council at HealthProtection@east-northamptonshire.gov.uk