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Highland Council and partners keeping Strathspey and Badenoch businesses and people safe in the region to help raise public confidence as the majority of businesses reopen this week with the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions

By Ian Duncan

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Highland Council headquarters.
Highland Council headquarters.

With the majority of businesses reopening this week Highland Council’s environmental health team, with help from Police Scotland, will be undertaking joint visits to premises throughout the region.

The visits aim to help raise public confidence that businesses are doing all they can to protect public safety as the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The focus of the visits will also be to ensure adherence to Scottish Government guidelines and to provide any assistance and advice that businesses may need.

Alan Yates, Highland Council’s environmental health manager, said: “The reopening 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.

“The Environmental Health Service calls on all pubs, bars, 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 they should contact the 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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