‘Don’t drop your guard’: Sandwell businesses reminded to remain cautious about Covid-19

Handwashing, disposable face coverings and vaccinationAs we head towards winter, Sandwell Council thanks you – our local business community – for your continuing caution in preventing the spread of coronavirus. The council also sets out safety reminders for the months to come, for everyone who lives and works in our borough.

Although most coronavirus restrictions have now ended, businesses still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their operations – which includes the serious health risk posed by coronavirus.

Sandwell Council is reminding its local business community to continue following government ‘Working Safely’ guidance.

Report two or more cases

The council also urges you to report two or more cases of coronavirus in your workplace to Public Health via the email address PHCovid19_Enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk. This helps the team to understand where and how transmission is taking place. By acting promptly, your business can play a key role in preventing a major outbreak. You can also use this email address  to seek advice.

The council is working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to carry out spot checks on Sandwell businesses and ensure they are doing everything they can to mitigate the risk of spreading Covid-19.

Safety tips for everyone

Sandwell’s director of public health Dr Lisa McNally has shared important tips for all Sandwell residents as we approach winter:

  • Get vaccinated if you aren’t already – and, if you’re eligible, take up your booster jab when it’s offered to you. The booster will help give you longer-term protection from becoming seriously ill from Covid-19.
  • Continue getting tested for coronavirus. Take regular lateral flow tests when you don’t have symptoms. About one in three people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others. If you do have symptoms, book a PCR [lab] test and self-isolate if required.
  • Meeting people outdoors is the safer option to prevent the transmission of the virus, but the colder weather means we are inevitably going to be indoors more. Let in fresh air if you do meet inside: open the windows when you can.
  • Wear a face covering when you’re in crowded or enclosed spaces with people you do not normally meet. Continue with good hygiene practices, hand washing and cleaning.
  • It is also important to remember that viruses other than Covid-19 are also in increased circulation during the winter months. Have the flu jab if you are offered it – and encourage your staff to do the same.

‘We all have a duty’

Councillor Bob Piper is Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for community safety. He praised Sandwell businesses for their diligence following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and said it was vital to continue with this caution.

He said: “Managing coronavirus risks in the workplace must continue to be a priority. We all have a duty to help keep one another safe in our local community, as well as allowing our businesses to keep running and keep our local economy healthy. Sandwell Council’s Public Health team and HSE can give you the best advice to do that – they are here to help.

“Covid-19 has not gone away. My message to local businesses is ‘thank you for everything you have done already – and don’t drop your guard'”.

Spot checks on businesses across the borough include contact by telephone and visits to premises, offering help and advice on Covid-safety measures.

During the spot checks, HSE staff will provide helpful advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors. If any business isn’t successfully managing the risks, further action may be taken.

As part of its activity, HSE will also check that businesses have measures in place to manage work-related stress and to support workers.