New scheme launched rating Covid-19 safety measures at London businesses


A pilot accreditation scheme assessing Covid-19 safety measures has been launched to promote public confidence in London’s pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops.

The City of London Corporation, which is leading the trial, has teamed up with the London boroughs of Southwark and Camden to run the scheme, which will support businesses in their reopening and reassure customers that premises are safe to visit.

The pilot will be the first scheme of its kind launched by local government. Currently by law, businesses must already carry out a Covid-19 Risk Assessment.

This pilot will bring in a new independent review by local government Environmental Health Practitioners. They will examine each businesses’ Covid-19 risk assessment and carry out a site visit to look at social distancing measures, customer track and trace, and cleanliness.

Thirty businesses from each local authority area are being invited to participate in the scheme.

Firms in the trial will be given a simple pass or fail by the local authority’s Environmental Health teams.

Those who fail will still have the opportunity to put into place remedial measures as advised by the officers when on site and be re-assessed.

Keith Bottomley, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Environmental Services Committee, said: “It’s been a hugely challenging time for so many businesses, large and small, and we want to support them as much as possible to get back up and running again successfully.

“Increasing customer confidence in safety provisions will help pubs, restaurants and shops in central London to responsibly increase much needed footfall.

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“This initiative will provide local authorities with a consistent approach to helping businesses to follow Government guidelines and reopen safely.”

A sticker will be awarded to businesses to display on their premises and the result will be posted on each of the local authority websites.

Councillor Danny Beales, Cabinet Member for Investing in Communities and an Inclusive Economy at Camden council said: “Camden is open and ready to welcome residents safely back into the amazing shops, restaurants and retailers that our borough has to offer.

“Our high streets and town centres are what make Camden the unique, welcoming and vibrant place it is. Throughout this challenging time, local businesses have been fantastic in closely following the Government guidelines to reopen.

“We now want to go a step further, offering residents a more consistent approach to Covid-secure reopening and the peace of mind they need to get back out into the borough. I hope this additional accreditation pilot run by the Council will do just that, so that our communities and businesses can continue to support one another to thrive into the future.”

The pilot scheme will run throughout September and October. If successful, the initiative could be rolled out across London.

Councillor Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “Local authorities’ and businesses’ response to Covid-19 is an evolving situation, and as such, safety can never be completely guaranteed. However, it’s very important that we aim to introduce consistency in how we look at the changing regulations and risk assessments.

“This new scheme offers that consistent approach and looks at a simple checklist of measures that businesses can carry out, which follow the Government’s guidelines on keeping people safe.”

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