Steering South Tyneside Out of Lockdown
With the easing of national restrictions on the horizon, a new team will be helping to steer South Tyneside businesses and communities on the roadmap out of lockdown.
Four new Business and Community Support Officers are getting ready to help keep residents, visitors and businesses safe as the Borough emerges out of the Government's lockdown restrictions.
The posts have been created by South Tyneside Council to support its Environmental Health team over the next six months, with the new officers acting as key liaisons for local businesses and communities on matters relating to coronavirus guidelines.
Their roles will include providing advice and support to businesses, particularly when the non-essential retail, leisure and outdoor hospitality sectors start reopening from 12 April (Step 2 of the Government's roadmap) and beyond. They will also be out talking to the public, reminding them of the rules as well as the importance of social distancing, using face coverings and hand washing.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "We have a long road ahead of us through the Government's step-by-step approach out of lockdown. We must continue to follow the rules at every stage to keep ourselves and others safe. This, and the great progress being made on vaccine roll-out, is the only way we will see a return to some form of normality this summer.
"Our new team of Business and Community Support officers have a key part to play on the frontline in the months ahead, particularly when businesses, bars, restaurants, shops and attractions start reopening and more people will be out and about.
"They will be lending a supporting and guiding hand, providing advice to businesses and communities, to help prevent further spread of coronavirus. Through their engagement work, they will support us to emerge from this pandemic in a strong position."
During the course of the pandemic, Environmental Health officers have played a central role in supporting businesses, giving them the confidence to provide a safe environment for their staff and customers in line with the guidelines.
The new officers will not have enforcement powers. Their role is to 'engage, encourage and explain' the latest rules and public health advice to residents, businesses and visitors, and to work closely with Environmental Health, Police and other partners.
As well as supporting businesses, the new officers will also be deployed as and when additional community engagement may be needed in public spaces such as the foreshore, shopping areas and other places of high footfall.
The posts are being funded from Government monies given to the local authority to help respond to the challenges brought about by the pandemic.
Councillor Gibson added: "We want our businesses and communities to feel confident and comfortable as restrictions are slowly lifted and we will do everything we can to support them over the challenging months ahead.
"Our Business and Community Support Officers are engaging now with local businesses to help understand how we can best support their needs as we welcome them back to business. They are really looking forward to getting out and about in our communities and are in no doubt about the importance of their role in helping to protect public health, increase customer confidence and provide a reassuring presence for residents and businesses alike."
For further information about the Government's roadmap out of lockdown visit www.gov.uk Details of South Tyneside Council's response to the coronavirus pandemic and the impact on services are available at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coronavirus