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North businesses will be visited by council and police as lockdown rules are eased

By Gordon Calder

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HIGHLAND Council and Police Scotland will be making visits to businesses throughout the north to ensure they are complying with Scottish Government guidelines as the coronavirus restrictions are eased.

The council's environmental team, with assistance from the police, will be undertaking the visits to ensure businesses are doing all they can to protect public safety as most businesses re-open this week folowing the relaxation of lockdown rules. The teams will also provide any assistance and advice firms may need.

Highland Council staff will carry out the visits with Police Scotland. Picture: Gary Anthony..
Highland Council staff will carry out the visits with Police Scotland. Picture: Gary Anthony..

Alan Yates, Highland Council’s environmental health manager, said: "The re-opening of pubs, bars and restaurants is obviously great news for businesses and the wider Highland economy. However, it is essential that we remember that Covid-19 has not gone away and still poses a considerable public health risk.

"Officers will be conducting joint patrols with our partners Police Scotland throughout the Highlands over the coming weeks to engage and provide reassurance to businesses and customers but also to respond to any issues where non-compliance is identified.

He added: "The environmental health service calls on all pubs, bar, restaurants and retail premises to keep in mind their responsibilities and ensure that physical distancing and other public health measures outlined in the Scottish Government guidance are properly implemented.

"Of equal importance is that members of the public and patrons of premises take a personal responsibility to follow Covid-19 controls that have been put in place by businesses. Should any businesses require further advice or simply to seek clarification on the guidance then I would urge them to contact our service by emailing envhealth@highland.gov.uk.”

Sergeant Katy Duncan said: "The sacrifices people have made have allowed for further easing of regulations around travel, hospitality and non-essential retail as Scotland moves into level three restrictions.

"We will be working with environmental health to carry out joint inspections to provide advice and support to the licensed trade. Licensees, along with those who visit premises, have a responsibility to adhere to the regulations that are in place to help stop the spread of the virus.

"Police Scotland’s approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and encourage compliance, but our officers will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers as a last resort."

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