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Council working with HSE to make sure Sefton businesses are COVID-secure

Sefton Council has joined forces with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to build upon the work that has already been done to make sure the Borough’s businesses are COVID-secure.

From Monday, to help tackle the spread of coronavirus spot checks will be carried out on businesses in the Borough to ensure they are managing their COVID-19 response and control measures in line with current government guidelines.

Checks

The HSE will be supporting the Council’s Environmental Health enforcement teams’ local efforts to help protect staff, customers and visitors from infection. Checks, in the form of phone calls and follow-up visits will focus on businesses in the hospitality, beauty & hairdressing and the warehousing sectors where the Council has responsibility for the enforcement of health and safety legislation.

During the checks, advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors will be provided. Where businesses are not managing, immediate action including enforcement notices and stopping certain work practices until they are made safe, could be taken. Businesses that fail or refuse to comply could face prosecution.

Managing risks

Cllr Paulette Lappin Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said: “We are talking to local businesses and inspecting sites across Sefton to understand how they are managing risks in line with their specific business activity.

“Becoming COVID-secure is a legal duty and needs to be the priority and we know the vast majority of our local businesses are trying hard to get this right by putting the necessary measure in place.

“We appreciate the efforts business owners and managers are making and have undertaken this work with the HSE to provide any further advice and support they may need.”

Adequate cleaning

HSE and local authority inspectors report they have been finding some common issues across a range of sectors. These include failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing, and failing to introduce an adequate cleaning regime particularly at busy times of the day. Bosses are being encouraged to work with their employees when implementing changes, to help increase confidence with workers, customers and the local community.

Cllr Lappin continued: “All businesses of any size, in any sector can receive an unannounced check to ensure they are COVID-secure although we will be focusing on the sectors we think will be most likely to benefit from this help.

“Making sure that businesses have measures in place to manage the risks and prevent the spread of coronavirus will help reduce the chances of a second local lockdown and the harmful effect that will have on Sefton’s economy.”

Visit the Government’s latest information and guidance for business.

Liverpool City Region and Cheshire Leaders Call for Urgent Deployment of Testing Capacity

Sefton Council leader Cllr Ian Maher today joined The Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region and the Leaders of four Cheshire Local Authorities in calling on the Government to urgently deploy more Covid-19 testing capacity in the region.

Merseyside was last week identified by the Government as an ‘area of concern’, with Covid-19 cases rising across the region.

An immediate increase in testing capacity is now urgently needed to protect the most vulnerable members of the community and avoid further local lockdowns, say the Leaders and Mayor.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region said: “Today we have come together to speak with one voice and urge the Government to immediately deploy additional testing capacity in our region.

“The North West currently has 24% of England’s Covid-19 cases but only around 15% of the national testing capacity.

“This cannot be right and is hampering our effort to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and avoid further, more drastic and damaging lockdown measures.

“My colleagues and I are fully committed to working in partnership with national government, but we need the right support and resource to help us at a regional level.

“We hope for an immediate, positive response from Government, which is fundamental to us getting the virus under control in our region.”

In addition to Sefton’s Cllr Maher other Liverpool City Region leaders, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cllr Sam Corcoran, Leader, Cheshire East Council; Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader, Halton Borough Council and Cllr Russ Bowden, Leader, Warrington Borough Council.

 

Sefton’s Public Health Director stresses coronavirus test are only for people with symptoms

With a recent survey of the country’s coronavirus testing sites showing a quarter of people turning up for tests did not have symptoms, Sefton’s Director of Public Health Margaret Jones has reminded residents they should only book a test of they have symptoms.

Mrs Jones said: “Testing is a crucial tool in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 but with the capacity of labs to process tests currently facing an enormous challenge, people should not book a test unless they have symptoms or have not been advised to take a test by a doctor or a public health professional.

“People who do have any of the coronavirus symptoms, which are a high temperature, a persistent new cough or a loss of taste or smell must isolate immediately for 10 days and must stay isolated even if they are waiting test appointment at a nearby location to become available.

“The rest of their household should self-isolate with them while they wait for the results but if they don’t have symptoms, they shouldn’t get a test.

“I know it is frustrating but it is the same for all of us and it’s the best way of making sure we don’t pass on the virus to potentially vulnerable friends and loved ones for whom coronavirus could be very serious or even fatal.”

Social distancing, using face masks and coverings where required and when social distancing is not possible and frequent and thorough handwashing are also vital tools in helping prevent the spread of the virus added Mrs Jones.

She continued: “Additionally, anyone identified as a contact of a positive case through Test and Trace must isolate for the full 14 days even if for some reason they get a negative test during that period. But once again, those people should only book a test if they develop a high temperature, a new continuous cough or they lose their sense of taste or smell.”

Remember the rule of six

Sefton Council wants residents, businesses and visitors to remember the Government’s ‘rule of six’.

Introduced from Monday 14 September, the ‘rule of six’ simplifies and strengthens the guidance on social gatherings. It means people must not meet friends and family you do not live with in a group of more than six, whether indoors or outdoors.

Social gatherings of more than six people will be against the law and the police will be able to disperse any such gatherings and fine individuals involved £100, doubling up to a maximum of £3,200.

Symptoms

Meanwhile health bosses have been reminding residents and businesses across Sefton and the whole of Cheshire and Merseyside that they should only get a Covid-19 test if they have symptoms of the virus.

There has been a huge increase in the number of people seeking a test for coronavirus, partly due to the return of schools. This has put a strain on the laboratories which process the tests.

Critical moment

Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health are also saying this is a critical moment in the fight to halt the spread of the virus in the region and are encouraging all residents to play their part by:

  • washing your hands;
  • avoiding crowds;
  • keeping your distance;
  • using face coverings;
  • staying at home and getting tested if you have symptoms.

On Friday, when it was announced that the Government has identified Merseyside as an ‘area of concern’ owing to rising number of COVID-19 cases, Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher called upon people and businesses to continue with social distancing and follow the revised guidelines.

Impressive efforts

He praised the ‘impressive efforts of local people and businesses which, he said, had been reflected in recent low numbers of cases. However, he went on to warn infections in Sefton are being spread through people’s social networks, whether at home, at work or out and about among people of all ages.

“Those people may be only mildly affected by COVID-19 and some are asymptomatic, but our real concern is how these people can still spread the infection, including to their loved ones at home who may be vulnerable and far more seriously affected,” he warned.

Required measures

Cllr Maher also stressed the need for Sefton’s businesses to ensure they are protecting their customers and staff by having all the required measures in place. These include Test and Trace arrangements for pubs, bars and restaurants, distancing and cleaning procedures and face coverings where required.

He said: “We really appreciate the huge efforts and sacrifices Sefton’s population and business have made to work with us to protect vulnerable people across our communities. Now we need them to continue those efforts and prevent tighter restrictions being re-introduced.”

You can read the Government’s latest guidance to meeting with others safely  and social distancing here

Sefton Council Leader responds to Merseyside being added to Government’s COVID watchlist

Cllr Ian Maher
Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher

Responding to today’s announcement that Merseyside has been identified by the Government as one of two new areas of concern owing to rising number of COVID-19 cases, Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said:

“In the light of this news, it’s essential that every single one of Sefton’s residents and businesses continue the great efforts they have made already to prevent us going into lockdown.

“The willingness and efforts of local people and the vast majority of the Borough’s businesses to follow the guidelines and implement the measures required have been impressive and were reflected in low numbers of cases recently. However, this current rise is a cause for concern.

Working age

“Infections in Sefton are spread across the Borough through people’s familiar social networks, whether at home, at work or out and about and while we are seeing cases being reported in people of all ages, those in the group from 20-60 are prevalent.

“Those people may be only mildly affected by COVID-19 and some are asymptomatic, but our real concern is how these people can still spread the infection, including to their loved ones at home who may be vulnerable and far more seriously affected.

Indoor meetings

“It’s vital that local people continue with social distancing and follow the Government’s recently revised guidelines restricting indoor meetings to members of two different households and keeping numbers at outdoor gatherings to a maximum of six. Wearing masks and face coverings where required and frequent, thorough hand-washing are also crucial.

“Sefton’s businesses need to ensure they are protecting their customers and staff by having all the required measures in place, including Test and Trace arrangements for pubs, bars and restaurants, distancing and cleaning procedures and face coverings where required.

Testing

“Also, we need those people who develop the coronavirus symptoms of a high temperature, or a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, to get a test immediately, for their own safety and the safety of others. They just need to visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or call 119 to make an appointment at their nearest available Test Centre.  Home testing kits are also available on request.”

“And finally, it is vitally important that if any Sefton residents are contacted by the Test and Trace programme that they comply with the requests of the contact tracers and stay home if they are asked to do so.

Efforts and sacrifices

“We really appreciate the huge efforts and sacrifices Sefton’s population and business have made to work with us to protect vulnerable people across our communities. Now we need them to continue those efforts and prevent tighter restrictions being re-introduced.”

You can read the Government’s latest guidance to meeting with others safely  and social distancing here.

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