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Citywide supermarket Covid-compliance checks

Trolley in a supermarket

Sheffield City Council is visiting all of the city’s supermarkets, plus smaller independent stores to carry out unannounced Covid-secure compliance checks and offer advice to premises.

Environmental Health Officers in Sheffield started visiting stores to carry out the spot-checks on 2 February, beginning in the areas of the city that have shown an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.

During the visits, which are in line with request from the Government, officers will speak to the duty manager to make sure stores have the right measures in place and that staff are following the basics, including social distancing, queuing, signage and wearing face coverings.

If stores are non-compliant or not following good practice, these issues are discussed with the manager and a return visit will be made to check that things have improved.

If continued non-compliance is witnessed further enforcement action could be pursued, however the findings so far have shown that most places are sticking with and enforcing the rules.

Officers have now made a first visit to 81 major supermarkets, which were all compliant with no follow up visits required, and 360 convenience stores giving advice as well as floor splats and face covering posters and various translated materials.

Councillor Mark Jones, Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene and Climate Change, said:

“As our supermarkets have remained open throughout the pandemic and have had to adapt to lots of changes, it’s really important that we make sure they have the relevant measures in place to keep people safe and prevent virus transmission.

“It’s our duty to check, support, educate and enforce where necessary and we take this role very seriously. So far, most stores are working hard to adhere to the rules, and some have needed further advice. Where businesses willingly flout the rules and guidance, we cannot allow this and will take further action.

“Our visits will continue, but we also encourage people to report any issues they come across whilst out shopping so that we can deal with them swiftly. During what is a very stressful time for many, I also want to remind people to be aware of and patient with others while out in public, and to thank everyone for playing their part for all of us.”

People can report issues relating to non-compliance and breaches in businesses at 

Greg Fell, Director of Public Health in Sheffield said:

“Typically supermarkets have not been one of the main sources of outbreaks in the city, but as one of the only places people can visit during lockdown it is essential that they continue to uphold the high standards and adjustments needed to bring down our infection rate.  Using the data, which shows where cases are increasing, we can target those areas and along with other interventions hopefully prevent a further rise in the city.”

During the national lockdown only essential shops and services can remain open. People are reminded that they should stay at home other than for work, education, medical appointments, essential shopping and exercise. 

Throughout the pandemic Health and Environmental Protection officers have been working across the city to make sure all types of business adhere to current restrictions – this includes giving advice and support as well as enforcement.