Environmental Health and Trading Standards Officers can support businesses with Coronavirus guidelines

Environmental Health and Trading Standards Officers across Scotland now have new responsibilities to ensure appropriate public health measures are being followed during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 places a number of responsibilities on Local Authorities and Police Scotland for the control of the closure of premises and businesses.

COSLA and the Society of both Environmental Health and Trading Standards in Scotland have agreed a joint response to ensure consistency across all Scottish local authorities. This includes a standard Prohibition Notice and the ongoing development of an Enforcement Policy. 

Environment spokesperson, Cllr Norman Hampshire said: “Through a four steps approach (Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce), local authorities can ensure that businesses currently open who are unable to comply with guidelines and could potentially cause harm to public health are closed. Also that appropriate support is provided to businesses deemed as ‘essential’ so that they can continue to trade and support communities.”

“At present, Protective Services staff in East Lothian, including several members of the Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Safer Communities Team, will be authorised to carry out the regulations.  East Lothian Council in all cases will seek to encourage businesses to comply with the measures through stressing the risks to the public and the NHS. Formal enforcement will always be the last resort where businesses fail to comply or where social distancing requirements are compromised, putting public health at risk.  This approach mirrors Police Scotland’s ‘Policing by Consent’ policy. 

“We are asking local residents that if they have any concerns regarding social distancing measures either not in place or not being observed in shops to email ehts@eastlothian.gov.uk. The Environmental Health and Trading Standards Team will then allocate an Officer according to the nature of the complaint.”

Published: Thursday, 9th April 2020