Businesses in Cheshire West and Chester are being urged to keep up the good work and follow national guidance on working safely with the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
West Cheshire has seen a sharp rise in COVID cases in recent weeks. The latest seven-day rate is 101 cases per 100,000 in the week up to 5 June. This compares to a rate of just five per 100,000 in the week up to 23 May.
The borough has seen a spike in COVID cases across Northwich and Winsford, with a rise in cases of the Delta variant of the disease.
Cheshire West and Chester Council and its partners have supported the borough’s businesses throughout the pandemic, providing information, guidance and access to financial grant aid support.
Since the easing of lockdown in late March, businesses across the borough have been working hard to re-open safely and continue to observe the regulations and maintain social distancing.
Now, as the warm weather approaches and shoppers and visitors continue to return to the borough’s town and city centres, the Council and its partners are calling for everyone to remain vigilant and continue to work to the rules.
Government advice urges businesses to follow several steps to protect customers and staff.
- Complete a COVID Risk assessment and consider any adjustment you need to make for staff and customers with disabilities.
- Clean more often, especially surfaces that people touch a lot.
- Remind customers and staff to wear face masks indoors or where the law says they must.
- Maintain social distancing between groups of customers.
- Provide adequate ventilation.
- Take part in the NHS Test and Trace programme.
- Staff members and customers who show COVID symptoms should self-isolate.
Businesses within the hospitality sector are advised to keep tables apart and manage groups to ensure social distancing. They should manage food and drink services safely to avoid contact and lower background music to prevent close contact through singing and dancing.
Staff and residents are also being encouraged to take a COVID test twice a week.
Regular testing for those without symptoms identifies one in three people who have the virus without any symptoms. These people could be spreading the virus unwittingly.
Cheshire West and Chester’s Director of Public Health, Ian Ashworth, said: “While vaccines are the best way to protect people from coronavirus, no vaccine is 100 per cent effective. Even if they have had the vaccine, asymptomatic residents and employees should continue to test themselves twice a week for COVID-19.”
“Rapid Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) are for people without symptoms of the virus. They show results in around 30 minutes, are easy to access and free to all.”
Debbie Bryce Chief Executive Officer of the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce said: “Huge progress has been made with considerable investment from business and the wider community, and there is an end in sight.”
However, maintaining and consolidating this needs continued vigilance and we would urge businesses to make use of the practical and valuable resources available to them via the Council to continue on this journey post COVID.”
Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cllr Louise Gittins said: “This is a challenging time for everyone. Our borough has taken great strides in the fight against COVID, particularly the business community who have worked collectively to overcome the obstacles the pandemic has brought.”
“However, the nature of this disease makes it clear that we cannot let our guard down for a minute.”
“It is clear that this diease is not going away and we have to continue to remain vigilant. There is plenty of practical support and information available from the Council and its partners for businesses on the Council’s website.”
“We want our local economy to continue to bounce back and grow over the summer months but we must continue to make public safety our top priority.”
- You can find out more about the COVID support available for businesses in Cheshire West and Chester at: https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/news-and-views/incidents/coronavirus-covid-19/business-information/businesses-and-employees.aspx
- For more information on where to get tested or pick up test kits to do at home visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/c19testing
- For more information about national guidance for businesses, including how to complete a COVID risk assessment, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery