Coronavirus: New obligations on businesses to control spread of virus
Shropshire Council is urging businesses across the county to comply with the latest requirements to control the spread of coronavirus that came into force on 18 September 2020.
Businesses like restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs, as well as hotels and other forms of guest accommodation, museums and galleries, betting shops and bingo halls, sport and leisure centres, and tourist attractions, are all being urged to ensure they are complying.
As well as businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries, the following businesses and services must also now ensure they record all customer, staff and visitor details to help control the spread of the virus:-
- Close physical contact services such as hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists
- Services provided for social, cultural and recreational purposes in youth and community centres and village halls.
Where a group attends premises for dining-in or when onsite, the requirement to provide contact details applies to all those in the group and not only to one person. This information must be stored for 21 days and, if requested, shared with NHS Test and Trace or local public health officials.
All businesses that provide food or drink to be consumed on the premises, including in seating made available adjacent to the premises, are now required to turn away any customers who fail to provide complete contact details or provide inaccurate details.
These businesses must also take all reasonable measures to ensure their customers follow social distancing requirements and comply with the ‘Rule of Six’. Whilst there are exemptions, including for ‘household bubbles’, in principle businesses must not take bookings for more than six people, must not allow groups of more than six people to be admitted to their premises, and must not allow separate groups to mingle. They must ensure appropriate distance is maintained between tables of different groups.
From Thursday 24 September 2020, businesses must display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details.
Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing operations manager, said:
“We are absolutely committed to supporting businesses and organisations to get back to normal. The majority are committed to compliance and only want the best for their customers; however, we cannot ignore the fact that we are still in a pandemic and that the spread of coronavirus is increasing.
“We cannot afford to get complacent and must continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus. Whilst our officers have responded, and will continue to respond, in a proportionate and pragmatic way to the coronavirus requirements, I must stress that businesses will now be committing criminal offences if they fail to comply with the latest rules. We will take robust enforcement action where businesses are ignoring their responsibilities. We do now have the power to issue fixed penalties for breaches and, in the most serious cases, this can be as much as £4,000.”
Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, said:
“We have the restrictions that have been introduced in other areas in the West Midlands. We want to prevent this happening in Shropshire and we all have a responsibility to do our bit. The council recognises that the latest legislation creates significant obligations on businesses and, as a result, I urge all of the public to act responsibly and to do their utmost to help businesses comply with these latest legal requirements.”
Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said:
“There is a very real risk that if businesses and the public do not help us get this right, Shropshire will be in the same position as other areas and we will be dealing with local lockdown restrictions. Clearly, none of us want this, and I urge everyone to comply with the public health measures that are in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Remember it is critical that everybody observes the ‘Hands – Face – Space’ key behaviours.”
It is critical that everybody observes the following key behaviours:
- Hands – Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
- Face – Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
- Space – Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible; or, if not possible, 1 metre with extra precautions in place.
Further guidance about on meeting with others safely (social distancing) is available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing
Further guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace is available here:
The latest legislation is available below:
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Collection of Contact Details etc and Related Requirements) Regulations 2020 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1005/contents/made
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Hospitality Undertakings) (England) Regulations 2020 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1008/pdfs/uksi_20201008_en.pdf