Gravesham‘s supermarkets pass Covid-19 spot checks
Unannounced spot checks of national supermarket and store chains in Gravesham have found all to be complying with required Covid-19 restrictions and procedures.
Health and safety officers from Gravesham Borough Council have paid ‘secret shopper‘ visits to 16 stores in the Borough recently to observe how Covid-19 precautions such as social distancing and the wearing of face coverings are being implemented.
“Over the course of the pandemic there have been a number of concerns raised by the public over whether Covid restrictions are being enforced in some larger stores,“ said Cllr John Burden, Leader of Gravesham Borough Council.
“Recently, Government has reminded the major national chains of the need to make sure rules on things such as social distancing, the wearing of face masks and controls on the number of people in stores at any one time are being adhered to.
“We sent our Health and Safety officers out to observe what was going on in the stores of all the national chains in the Borough, with instructions only to make themselves known to store managers if they observed any breaches taking place.
“I am pleased to say, no such breaches were observed during any of our 16 visits.“
Throughout the pandemic the council has worked with colleagues at Kent Police to ensure local businesses of all sizes are observing the restrictions and legislation in place at the time.
Since March, the council has handled more than 560 Covid-related complaints and enquiries, 71 of which were referred by the police.
Despite the large number of complaints and enquiries, just fourteen £1,000 Fixed Penalty Notices have been served by the council on businesses found to be in breach of the regulations, all of which were takeaways and pubs and of which three were withdrawn after further contact with the businesses concerned.
Officers continue to monitor activity across the borough out of hours to ensure businesses are playing their part in controlling the virus.
Cllr Burden said: “The vast majority of our businesses have complied fully with whatever has been asked of them by Government during this health crisis, no matter how tough that has been for them.
“Sadly, a few have not played by the rules.
“In the majority of those cases, a few well chosen words of advice have been enough to deal with any issues, but ourselves and Kent Police have been very clear that we will issue penalty charge notices to business owners who either do not take that advice on board, or who are more flagrant in their flouting of the Covid measures.
“I‘m happy that this latest operation has shown the larger chains are making sure the rules are observed.
“This is unlikely to be the only programme of spot checks of its kind, so I would encourage owners of businesses of all shapes and sizes to make sure they are operating within the rules.“
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