Public protection officers have spot-checked barbers in Stoke-on-Trent following concerns around the level of covid-compliance.
A total of 48 barbers were spot checked by the officers from Stoke-on-Trent City Council working alongside Staffordshire Police.
And, while some were found to be compliant, 26 were given advice regarding non-compliance issues.
The team provided guidance to businesses on how to comply with the ‘Working Safely during Coronavirus – Close Contact Services’ guidance and answered questions if barbers were unsure on any of the current requirements.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “We are still seeing some barbers across the city are not following the correct guidelines. Whilst many have now taken our advice and warnings on board and have become compliant, some are still not and this is not acceptable.
“Complaints about barber shops and other establishments across Stoke-on-Trent flouting the rules are still high. Our teams will continue to go out across the city, advising businesses of their responsibilities. We are also acting on information from residents and using our own intelligence to ensure that premises are compliant.
“If premises do not follow covid-secure measures, it will not be tolerated and action will be taken. This is serious; we all need to take responsibility to stop the risk of the spread of the virus.
“Our plea to residents is if premises aren’t covid-compliant and don’t put your safety first then don’t go in there. The same applies if premises are too busy when you go into them. Take responsibility for yourself and your own actions.”
Where non-compliance has been identified, revisits are planned to ensure that compliance is achieved. One barber, who had been visited previously following a complaint, was visited as part of the exercise and further significant non-compliance issues were identified.
Sean Beck, owner of barber shop ‘Sean Beck & Sides’ in Burslem, who were spot-checked on Friday and found to be compliant, said: “We have followed all the rules since reopening; our staff wear the correct personal protective equipment; a visor, face covering and in addition, disposable aprons and gloves. We only allow six people inside the shop at one time so we can adhere to social distancing and customers are temperature-checked on entry.
“Our customers have been fantastic in supporting us. They have followed the measures we have put in place and all wear a face covering. If anybody forgets we have disposable ones available for them to use.”
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Last month, the council was forced to issue community protection warnings to a barber shop in Burslem and to two barber shops in Tunstall after all three were found to be flouting the rules. Staff in both premises were not wearing personal protective equipment including face coverings and visors.
Sergeant Phillip Ferns from Stoke North Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “We’re working together with Stoke-on-Trent City Council as we’re intent on doing all we can to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and avoid any further lockdown restrictions like those we have seen elsewhere.
“We want to thank the majority of people and businesses across Stoke-on-Trent and the wider county who are doing their best to comply with the restrictions which are in place to protect all of us, but there are some who are choosing to ignore the rules.
“Our work with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and its public protection team, is vital in keeping our families, friends and local community safe and, with their support, we will not hesitate to take stricter enforcement action, including issuing a fine, where we find that people are flouting the rules and putting us all at risk.”
Residents can report concerns they have about premises to email@example.com.