Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, responds to the Prime Minister’s announcement that councils will be given tougher powers to tackle businesses flouting COVID-19 rules.
“Councils continue to work tirelessly to support communities through this pandemic and to ensure they are prepared for the threat of a potential second wave.
“Most hospitality businesses are working hard, supported by councils, to ensure they comply with COVID-19 rules. However, some premises are not collecting contact details of customers so they can be reached in the event of a local outbreak. This is clearly a danger to communities and puts people at risk of infection, so it is good that this will become mandatory as councils have called for.
“While most businesses are implementing the necessary measures to protect people’s safety, we are pleased the Government has also acted on LGA calls for councils to have powers to take action when rules are being flouted. These measures will mean they can act quickly and proactively in cracking down on places that flout COVID-19 guidance, to prevent problems in the first place instead of only being able to act when it is too late.
“We need to quickly see further detail on how the Government’s COVID-19 Secure Marshal scheme is intended to work, and any new responsibilities for councils in this area will have to be fully funded. Given the shortage of environmental health officers, it is positive that the Government has committed to a register of EHOs, and the LGA will continue discussions to take this forward.”