Targeted joint visits to supermarkets across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to keep local residents safe during the pandemic

More than 37 supermarkets and large mixed retailers were visited by BCP Council’s Trading Standards, Environmental Health Officers, COVID marshalls and Dorset Police over the last week to ensure businesses are operating safely during lockdown as well as making sure the public are following the necessary safety restrictions.

Following a large number of complaints from the public regarding the safe operation of large retailers who are allowed to remain open during lockdown, the council and police joined forces to carry out targeted visits to work with the businesses and advise where additional safety measures were required.

A large proportion of the businesses visited were found to be operating safely and had good measures in place. These included good sanitation, correct safety signage, limit of customer numbers entering the premises at one time and employees using the correct personal protection equipment.

Where issues were identified, council officers worked with the businesses to provide advice on issues such as congestion on the shop floor or shop entrances, displaying correct signage and providing gloves for customers to take unwrapped food products, roping off non-essential products and putting in place security staff on the door to ensure customers were adhering to the safety restrictions. Where issues could not be resolved on the day, they have been escalated up to the business head office.

Councillor May Haines, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, BCP Council, said:

“Now, more than ever it is so important that both businesses and customers play their part to help keep everyone safe during the pandemic. I would like to thank local residents and businesses for acting responsibly and following the necessary restrictions that are in place.

“The latest joint targeted visits to the large supermarkets and mixed retailers have been welcomed with the majority of businesses found to be complying or who have responded positively to advice provided by our officers to put in place the necessary safety measures. I hope that the joint presence of council and police patrols has offered reassurance to the public that we are responding to complaints and we will do all we can to ensure our communities are kept safe.”

Superintendent Heather Dixey, of Dorset Police, said:

“As part of our regular community patrols and dedicated COVID-19 Op Tattoo resources, officers have been supporting colleagues at BCP Council in visiting supermarkets. Our remit was not to carry out enforcement, but to help support our businesses and partner agencies.

“We were really pleased to see an extremely high level of compliance with shoppers. The response and feedback from the public and stores about this joint activity was also very positive. We will continue to support our partners and communities to ensure that everyone is doing their bit to help prevent the spread of this virus, protect the NHS and save lives.”

We would advise our residents to shop safely when visiting supermarkets by:

  • Remembering hands-face-space
  • Shop infrequently – make a list and plan your shopping to minimise trips out
  • Shop alone wherever possible
  • Only touch items you are going to buy
  • Pay by card where possible – remember, the contactless limit is now £45

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable or shielding and can’t get delivery slots or support with shopping, call our Together We Can helpline on 0300 123 7052.

Residents are reminded that if they are concerned that a business is not operating safely during lockdown or that a business is open when it should not be, please report to BCP Council.

Posted on Tuesday 2 February 2021