Published on 28 January 2021
Archived on 28 February 2021
Supermarkets and food shops in Stratford District are improving their COVID-19 safety measures after standards appeared to have relaxed since the first lockdown.
Officers from Stratford District Council's Environmental Health department noticed COVID safety measures in shops were not being enforced as strictly as they were during the first lockdown in March 2020.
The organisations have teamed up with the other districts and borough councils in the county, Warwickshire County Council, Public Health England and Warwickshire Police, to explain to shops in what they need to do to improve and to keep people safe.
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.
The joint team is currently visiting 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.
If not, further actions may be taken, including warnings, fines, and even an appearance in court.
Many are already making the necessary improvements to their stores, while 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."
Once all shops have been visited by the joint team, the data gained will be analysed and 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 too, and felt it was important they continue to follow the rules each store has recommended and the existing 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."
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575