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Covid compliance help on offer as Sidmouth prepares to reopen for business

By Philippa Davies

25th Feb 2021 | Local News

As Sidmouth's shops, restaurants and other traders prepare to reopen for business, they are being offered help to make sure they are Covid-compliant.

If all goes to plan, non-essential retailers, along with hairdressers and nail salons, will be allowed to open on April 12, and pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers indoors from May 17.

To make sure businesses can open safely and in keeping with the Covid legislation and guidance, two new officers have been employed by East Devon District Council to visit them and give advice.

Covid Compliance Officers Andy Squires and Rachel Payne aim to support small and medium sized independent businesses, and ensure that their customers can visit with confidence when they open their doors again.

They will also be able to signpost businesses to other sources of help, such as grant funding and professional advice.

The first point of contact for enquiries about Covid compliance

Marianne Rixson, the council's portfolio holder for Covid issues, said:

"We have recently appointed two compliance officers to help business owners understand the measures they will need to take to re-open their businesses safely to comply with government guidelines.

"Andy and Rachel will be a first point of contact for enquiries and have already started visiting businesses in the Exmouth area. We would urge business owners to get in touch if they are unsure whether their procedures are correct."

As part of their roles, Andy and Rachel will go through the Covid risk assessments and let businesses know if there are any gaps in the measures they have taken to protect staff and clients from the risks of infection.

They will also be responsible for responding to enquiries and reports from businesses and members of the public that become concerned about Covid-safety compliance.

They will be working alongside regulatory and enforcement professionals, other agencies and partners to provide advice, education and assistance to businesses and customers.

The funding for these new posts comes from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 through the EDDC Reopening High Street Safely project, which has received £130,992 of funding.

Any business owner who would like help from a Covid Compliance Officer - who will always carry ID when visiting - should contact the Environmental Health Team on 01395 517456 to arrange a phone call or a visit, or email [email protected]

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