Cheshire West and Chester businesses supported to remain open following easing of restrictions
Firms offered advice following the easing of restrictions
Businesses in west Cheshire are being offered advice following the easing of restrictions from the 19 July and Step 4 of the national COVID road map out of lockdown.
All businesses have faced a rapidly changing set of regulations during the pandemic with many of the existing control measures no longer being a legal requirement from 19 July.
West Cheshire infection rates are still very high and continuing to increase with an infection rate of 334 per 100,000 up to 7 July. The rates are highest in the 20-29 age range and more people (currently over 60 admissions) are being admitted to local hospitals.
Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health said: "Please don't see the 19 July as a reason to stop all the good practices that have helped to reduce the spread of the virus. By remaining careful we can all support the recovery of our local businesses and the wider economy. An increase in transmission of the virus could result in major disruptions if staff are unable to work due to being unwell with COVID-19 and legally required to self-isolate.
"We still recommend everyone to have a free, twice weekly rapid symptom Lateral Flow Test (LFT). If people experience symptoms such as a headache, a stuffed or runny nose, tiredness or weakness, aches and pains, sore throat or diarrhoea, they should take an LFT and follow up with a PCR test if the LFT test is positive.
"If people have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 such as a high temperature, a new continuous cough or loss or change to their sense of smell or taste they must stay at home and book a PCR test.
"Nobody wants to go back to square one. The best thing businesses can do is to help enable their staff to be fully vaccinated. Please visit the Councils website to find your nearest clinic. Continue wearing face coverings in crowded indoor areas where social distancing cannot be followed. Staff should still work from home where possible and we should all continue with regular hand washing."
Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive of West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce added: "As our latest Chamber Quarterly Business Report indicated, West Cheshire and North Wales businesses are showing signs of a recovery as the UK starts to relax lockdown restrictions and it's positive to see confidence levels are high.
"However, as we move towards full reopening and see the recovery taking shape our members are also telling us that many businesses are far from being out of the woods yet and we would warmly encourage adhering to following the latest government guidance, together we can look with optimism to building back better in the future."
The recommendations for local businesses is to go above and beyond the minimum guidance required.
Covid-19 Business Tips
- Do a COVID-19 risk assessment, communicate it to staff and update it regularly; guidance and a template: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm
- Encourage all staff to be fully vaccinated and provide you with evidence that this has been done. This will protect your staff from the need to self-isolate if they are contacts of a positive case and test negative on a PCR.
- Make sure all staff and visitors know the three main COVID-19 symptoms – new, continuous cough, high temperature and/or loss or change of sense of taste or smell. Anyone with these symptoms needs to isolate immediately and have a PCR test.
- Continue to engage with the Test, Trace and Isolate process, and increase testing if your workplace has had an outbreak.
- Encourage your employees to get tested if they suspect they have COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolate if positive.
- If you have a positive case, act quickly, use the resource pack to identify and isolate contacts: https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/news-and-views/incidents/coronavirus-covid-19/business-information/business-contact-tracing-resources.aspx and contact: HealthProtectionSecure@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.
This will change after 16 August when anyone who has had two vaccinations, and under 18s, will not be required to isolate unless under local public health outbreak measures.
- Continue to practice good hand hygiene, in particular hand washing and provide sanitising stations for staff and customers and regular cleaning of high frequency contact points.
- Wherever possible, maximise social distancing between staff and customers to give customers confidence in your business. This will protect your staff and help keep your business open.
- Continue to encourage staff and customers to use a face covering when in crowded outside areas, and inside especially when staff are moving around within your setting and dealing directly with customers if not through a screen.
- Ventilation is key - maximise fresh air flow through windows, doors and air vents and air conditioning that draws in outside air.
If a business is involved in an outbreak the local public health team may require additional measures to be applied to help manage the spread of infection.
For the latest information about vaccinations: https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/news-and-views/incidents/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccinations/vaccinations.aspx
The Government has produced further guides for businesses -
Working safely during Covid-19: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19
Working safely during Covid-19 - hospitality: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19/restaurants-pubs-bars-nightclubs-and-takeaway-services