Coronavirus: Shropshire Council supporting food businesses
Local businesses across Shropshire have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Shropshire Council fully recognises that this will have far-reaching effects both immediately and long-term, and have been working alongside businesses to provide the support they need.
A huge effort is needed so we can protect Shropshire’s local economy for the future benefit of businesses, local communities and the wider public.
Our staff in trading standards, licensing and regulatory services are working alongside economic growth, finance and planning colleagues at the council as part of a dedicated group that has been set up to support businesses and the economy.
We have already been helping businesses access the financial support that has been made available by the Government. We have now paid £56.32m to 4,825 businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, since grant applications opened on 1 April.
We have also been giving advice and guidance to food businesses to enable them to continue to trade where this is permissible a,nd to do so in ways that reduces the spread of coronavirus through staff and customers, in line with the Public Health England guidance.
This is being undertaken alongside the council’s wider regulatory responsibilities that focus on protecting public health, safety, and ensuring a fair trading environment exists, to allow legitimate businesses to adapt and remain commercially viable in the unprecedented circumstances that the coronavirus pandemic has created.
So far, we have provided advice and guidance to a range of businesses across Shropshire. This includes advice to around 1,000 food businesses, covering the implications of the coronavirus regulations, street trading, supply of alcohol, late night refreshment, food safety and hygiene, and health and safety.
We’re committed to working with all Shropshire businesses to support innovative trading practices that meet regulatory requirements and to enable them to find new ways of trading. First and foremost, however, is the need to protect public health and safety, so there may be occasions where we need businesses to provide certain information so we can support them in the best way.
Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing operations manager, said:-
“The most important focus is to protect public health and safety. However, there is a genuine need to support businesses to continue trading where this is permitted.
“Our staff are committed to helping local businesses throughout Shropshire. Working with others across different areas of the council is enabling us to ensure businesses are receiving the most appropriate support that meets their needs, but also protects the safety of consumers.
“We will always provide support where it is clear that businesses are legitimate; however, we will also take appropriate enforcement action to tackle trading activities that undermine and jeopardise the ability of genuine businesses to survive the current crisis.
“We strongly encourage all businesses to get in touch with us and seek advice.”
We want to ensure food supplies are delivered in the safest way possible in order to prevent business owners and the public from contracting coronavirus. The Public Health England advice clearly states, “Stay at home, save lives”, and this is key to preventing the spread of the virus.
We have been working, and will continue to work with, food businesses to actively promote and encourage trading methods that ensure compliance with specific food safety and standards legislation, and also:
- reduces the number of people leaving their homes, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions
- minimises physical contact
- facilitates people staying at least 2 metres apart
- avoids cash transactions
- allows contact surfaces to be cleaned regularly, and
- provides opportunities for regular hand washing with soap and water.
Business advice relating to the supply of food, including any matters relating to non-compliance with COVID-19 business closure rules or social distancing concerns taking place in Shropshire, should be sought from or reported to Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9067 (option3) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concerns about suspected illegal trading activities or unfair business practices should be reported to trading standards through the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.
Keep informed and sign up to our daily Coronavirus email updates
Shropshire Council wants to keep you as up to date and informed as possible. To help us do this, we have developed a coronavirus update that will be sent daily at 8pm via email to anyone who has signed up to our e-bulletins.
This update includes the day’s key Shropshire Council news, and some key news from our partners, relating to coronavirus-linked issues. Please click here to sign up for the updates.
Please do encourage your family and friends to sign up to the updates too. This will help us keep everyone up to date with the rapidly-evolving crisis.