Covid-19 safety measures at Stratford's shops must improve, council warns
Stratford’s food shops and supermarkets are being told to improve their Covid-19 safety measures after environmental health officers found they appeared to have relaxed since the first lockdown.
Stratford District Council said its officers had noticed Covid safety was not being enforced as strictly as it was during the first lockdown in March 2020.
A team that includes other districts and borough councils, Warwickshire County Council, Public Health England and Warwickshire Police, has told shops what improvements are needed to keep people safe.
SDC said letters have been written to all shops in the district, as well as the wider county, to highlight the dangers of the new Covid-19 variant and the importance of reviewing their hygiene practices.
Teams will also visit all shops and supermarkets in the district to check if new safety measures described in the letter are being implemented. These include enforcing social distancing, having good ventilation, ensuring staff wear face coverings, and increasing the frequency of cleaning the store.
And SDC warned that further action may be taken, including warnings, fines, and even court action if the measures are not in place.
Many are said to have already made improvements to their stores, but some have yet to do so.
Cllr Anne Parry, portfolio holder for regulatory at Stratford District Council, said: “We all need to go to the supermarket or our local shops from time to time, which is why it is so important they are doing everything they can to keep their customers safe.
“It was clear to us and our partners that many supermarkets and food shops in Stratford district were not employing the same level of safety measures that we saw in the first lockdown.
“Key safety measures like only having one person from a household shopping, one-in-one-out policies, vigilance around mask wearing, and adherence to social distancing, seem to have lapsed since the first lockdown.
“With the new variant of Covid-19 being more transmissible than the original variant, it’s even more crucial that safety measures are being enforced.
“We’re glad to see that many shops have already made changes – but we need to make sure every shop is safe for customers to visit.”
SDC added that once all shops have been visited, a decision will be made on whether more needs to be done to keep shoppers and store staff safe.
Cllr Parry also said the public had a role to play, and needed to continue to follow the rules at each store as well as the government guidelines.
She added: “Staff in those supermarkets may come into contact with hundreds of people a day, and it only takes one person to pass on an infection.
“With the vaccine rollout going so well across the district, it’s more important than ever to maintain our resolve and not get complacent by keeping the momentum up to protect our key workers as well as ourselves by abiding by these restrictions.”