Local businesses receive advice regarding Level 2 guidelines

The recent move from Covid Protection Level 3 to Level 2 for East Lothian has been greatly welcomed by both local businesses and the public.  To ensure that all required measures are in place to help protect people from Covid-19, officers from East Lothian Council’s Environmental Health and Trading Standards teams visited over 70 hospitality venues last weekend to provide support and guidance.

Depute Council Leader, Norman Hampshire, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, our officers have been very proactive issuing advice and guidance to local businesses and answering their queries whilst adopting an ‘engage, explain and encourage’ approach, leaving enforcement as a last resort.  To date, officers have answered over 800 enquiries from local businesses and residents regarding Covid-19 restrictions and guidance.

Let's all play our part in sticking to the rules

Cllr. Norman Hampshire

“When out over last weekend the standard of compliance encountered was good, and the officers’ presence was appreciated by both business and members of the public alike.  Some issues were encountered where further advice was required and 1 prohibition notice was issued.”

“The issues encountered followed 2 main themes. The first relates to the continuing consumption of alcoholic drinks once a meal has been finished, and the second theme was the issue of fully enclosed structures such as marquees or similar, being used to permit the consumption of alcoholic drinks without having a meal.

“The current Level 2 restrictions require that persons may only consume alcohol indoors along with a main meal.  Once the meal is finished only one further alcoholic drink may be consumed indoors. For alcohol to be consumed without having a meal, this must only be served outdoors.  Any structure that is more than 50% enclosed is classed as being wholly or substantially enclosed, so where anything like a marquee is used, it must be at least 50% open to the elements.”

“Officers will continue their visits to hospitality venues over the coming few weeks and I would encourage both customers and businesses to observe the rules, which are in place to ensure everyone’s safety.  Checks will be made via the contact details, and arrival times taken to make sure that customers are not overstaying at these premises and that, if indoors, alcohol is only being consumed with a meal.”

“With Christmas only a few weeks away, we all want to be able to spend time with family and friends and as we cannot meet in each other’s houses, hospitality venues offer us a place we can do so.  Let’s all play our part in sticking to the rules so that we stay in Level 2 and possibly move into Level 1.  Support local and love East Lothian and keep to the FACTS.”

Published: Thursday, 3rd December 2020