Public Protection Team helping to keep communities COVID safe

Image of cafe using PPE

4 December 2020

Image of cafe using PPE At a crucial point in the pandemic, the council's Public Protection Team are working around the clock to help local businesses to comply with Covid-19 regulations.

The team comprises of trading standards, environmental health, and licensing officers from across Powys who work closely with partners including Dyfed Powys Police.

For several months officers have been working day and night to ensure businesses fully understand and operate within the safety requirements and avoid enforcement action.

The officers check businesses for compliance, including ensuring there is enough space for social distancing, checking cleaning routines, correct use of PPE, and making sure track and trace procedures are followed.

Between the beginning of March and the end of October, the team had proactively advised over 4,767 businesses and made 722 visits across the county.

This work has accelerated in recent weeks, and with the support of Welsh Government funding five new public protection officers have been recruited to bolster the team's response to the virus.

Officers are primarily there to assist businesses but when advice is ignored and serious issues of non-compliance persist, enforcement action is taken. This could be an improvement notice, a forced closure, or a fine, depending on the breach.

Enforcement work requires the council to publicise a served notice for public safety reasons. When a premises is re-visited and the required improvements have been made, the notice is then lifted.

Cllr Graham Breeze, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services, said: "Keeping Powys safe is our first priority and our Public Protection Team have been on-hand since the beginning of the pandemic to provide expert advice and support.

"In most cases businesses are working hard to remain compliant, but some businesses have continued to flout the rules and we have been left no alternative than to use enforcement as a last resort.

"We all want to keep infection rates down and Public Protection has a vital role in that by working with businesses to maintain the right safety measures.

"We don't want to use enforcement action, but it is the council's statutory duty to protect residents in this way.

"The Public Protection Team are here to help first and foremost, so businesses should not hesitate in seeking the advice and support they need.

You can contact the council's Public Protection Team at trading.standards@powys.gov.uk

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