Portsmouth City Council is introducing a team of covid business compliance officers to support the enforcement of coronavirus safety measures within the city’s businesses. Four officers will be out and about around Portsmouth from next week, visiting around 30 businesses over the course of each day and evening.
The officers will visit businesses when potential breaches of safety rules have been reported to the council via its online reporting tool. They will also conduct spot checks in businesses, such as bars, shops, restaurants and takeaways to ensure the correct safety measures are in place and that safety regulations are being followed, such as social distancing and the 10pm curfew.
In cases of non-compliance, the council’s regulatory services team will attempt to support the business to swiftly make the necessary changes to their operations. If a business refuses to cooperate or a subsequent visit by the team discovers ongoing issues, then they will deliver swift enforcement action – this could be in the form of a fixed penalty notice, restricting access to businesses, or even closing premises if necessary in order to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Cllr Steve Pitt, the council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development and Deputy Leader, comments: “As we work hard to protect Portsmouth from the spread of coronavirus, one of our key priorities is making sure that the businesses people use and the places everyone visits to shop, eat and drink have vital safety procedures in place.
“We’re already working closely with the business community to ensure they’re following the rules and we’re taking action when we see any issues – the introduction of these officers will enable us to build on that effort by visiting more businesses, more often. By having officers clearly visible on our highstreets we hope to give people the confidence to use local businesses and to tell us if they see something that causes concern.”
As part of the council’s regulatory services team, the covid business compliance officers will be focusing on safety measures in business settings but they will also work closely with other partners including the police, who are responsibility for ensuring members of the public follow coronavirus safety rules.
The officers will be easily identifiable to businesses and members of the public through their uniforms and will be equipped with PPE to help protect everyone they meet and speak to. As well as monitoring business compliance, the officers will also be able to advise members of the public who wish to report a breach of coronavirus safety rules.
Anyone with concerns about a business that may be operating unsafely can contact the council’s coronavirus enforcement team via the web form at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirussecurityreporting.
Businesses can find information and support to help them meet coronavirus safety regulations on Portsmouth City Council’s coronavirus webpages at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/businesssupport.