A team of coronavirus liaison officers has joined the regulatory services team at Portsmouth City Council to help local businesses keep on top of coronavirus safety measures. The team will be responsible for responding to concerns about possible breaches of coronavirus safety rules and ensuring good compliance across the city.
The council has also introduced a new tool on its website where people can send details about businesses that may not be operating safely straight to the coronavirus liaison officers. This new reporting system aims to provide a quick and simple way to raise concerns in order to help maintain good coronavirus safety across Portsmouth. The council will then be able to act quickly to support these businesses with the advice and information they need to make sure they're following the government's 'COVID-secure' guidance.
In extreme cases or in response to ongoing non-compliance, the coronavirus liaison officers will also be able to draw on expertise from across the city, including the council's licensing team, the police and public health professionals, to take action in the interests of public safety. In line with government regulations, these measures could include restricting access to businesses, prohibiting certain events or even closing premises if necessary in order to limit the spread of coronavirus.
"It's been brilliant to see how readily businesses have responded to the challenges of coronavirus by putting in place new procedures to keep staff and customers safe, such as vital test and trace systems," comments Cllr Steve Pitt, the council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development and Deputy Leader.
"If people do have concerns that a business may not be operating safely, the new reporting tool makes it straightforward to flag potential issues. We can then act quickly to identify any problems, help businesses comply with the rules and make sure they avoid the most serious consequences of non-compliance. Businesses can also make sure they're up to date with the latest coronavirus guidelines and legislation for their organisation via our dedicated business webpages and phone line."
As part of its wider programme of coronavirus support for businesses, Portsmouth City Council is also trialling innovative ways to help businesses stay secure. One example is the launch of the Contactless Menu app which enables customers at cafes, bars and restaurants to order and pay through the app. The app also has an inbuilt test and trace system to help businesses easily log customers' details as they are required to do by coronavirus legislation. Businesses that sign up to be part of the app's pilot scheme are able to use it free of charge during the initial trials.
Businesses can find information and support to help them stay on top of coronavirus safety regulations on Portsmouth City Council's coronavirus webpages www.portsmouth.gov.uk/businesssupport or by calling the dedicated business support line on 023 9284 1641 (Monday - Friday, 7am - 7pm).
Anyone with concerns about a business that may be operating unsafely can contact the council's dedicated coronavirus enforcement team via the web form at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirussecurityreporting.