The public can now report their concerns about a Medway business not following government restrictions online to Medway Council.
The new online reporting tool has been developed after the council received a number of concerns about the way some businesses were operating during the new national lockdown, which runs from 5 November to 2 December.
The new tool gives residents the opportunity to quickly report information directly to Medway’s Trading Standards team by the click of a button and within a few minutes.
Reports could include information about a business staying open when the government has ordered them to close, not following social distancing measures, encouraging employees to go into the workplace when they should be self-isolating, and not having adequate safety protection measures such as barriers and screens.
Medway Council’s Trading Standards team will review each report before visiting the business, where appropriate, to offer advice and ensure they are complying with the new national guidelines, for the safety of their customers and staff.
Since lockdown was implemented, the team has been busy visiting town centres and business areas across Medway to offer their advice and support during these challenging times. During the first weekend of lockdown, the team visited approximately 400 businesses and were pleased to find that the majority were following the government guidelines. In the days before, the team had responded to concerns that some shops and businesses had remained open when they should be closed or using a click and collect service instead. Advice was given to the owners to give them the opportunity to change their procedures, and on a return visit the team found each shop and business were now complying.
As of Wednesday, 18 November, the team has visited more than 1,000 businesses and issued three formal warnings to two car washes and a cosmetics retailer. The three businesses have been given further advice and asked to review the guidance and their operating procedures before Medway’s Trading Standards team revisit them.
Medway Council’s Trading Standards team will not hesitate to issue notices and fines to businesses repeatedly failing to follow government advice and is working closely with Kent Police to enforce the new national restrictions.
It is important everyone plays their part to protect each other
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “The new national restrictions have been put in place to help stop the spread of the virus and save lives. We recognise it is an increasingly worrying time for many businesses, especially those affected by the new lockdown, and Medway’s Trading Standards team has visited hundreds of businesses to offer advice in the first instance. I am pleased to hear that the overwhelming majority of businesses have been found to be complying with the new national restrictions and I’d like to thank Medway’s business owners and employees for their cooperation and hard work to protect our community. However, we are working closely with Kent Police and will not hesitate to take further action against any business found breaking the rules and putting both their customers and staff at risk. It is important everyone plays their part to protect each other – from businesses following government advice to residents only leaving home for work, education, medical reasons, to buy food or to exercise.
“Businesses and residents concerned about the financial impact of the new lockdown might be eligible for financial support. During the first lockdown we paid out millions of pounds to those living and working in Medway to support them during the challenging times, and businesses that have been affected by the second national lockdown will be able to apply for financial support on our website in the coming weeks. I would encourage those financially affected by the new restrictions to apply for funding, if eligible – visit medway.gov.uk/coronavirus.”
We are committed to supporting businesses
Cllr Jane Chitty, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder covering Enforcement, said: “I am pleased that the majority of Medway’s businesses are continuing to follow the latest government guidelines. We are committed to supporting our businesses and I would encourage residents to continue to support our local retailers and high streets. Many Medway businesses have been faced with real challenges this year and they’ve worked extremely hard to maintain not only their livelihoods and those of their staff, but they have also served the people of Medway’s needs. However, there is no excuse for flouting the rules and putting people’s health at risk. We will not hesitate to take action, if needed. Preventing the spread of the virus has to be our main priority and we will do everything in our power to protect the people of Medway.”
All businesses in Medway are encouraged to read the latest government guidelines to ensure they are complying with the restrictions and operating legally.
Residents are encouraged to read the advice before reporting a concern.