Skip to content

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
View the latest COVID-19 information and advice, including details of the local restrictions.

Gateshead businesses receive letter over sharp rise in Covid-19 cases

Bars and restaurants

The Council has written to every business in Gateshead expressing its concern over the sharp increase in coronavirus cases in the last week.

The letter, signed by Council Leader Martin Gannon, Chief Executive Sheena Ramsey and Director of Public Health Alice Wiseman, reiterates the responsibilities that local businesses have in helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The number of cases in Gateshead and other local areas have increased rapidly in recent days, including a number of cases associated with local pubs and restaurants. The rise in cases is significant and may result in Gateshead being added to the national watchlist of areas of concern, which may lead on to local lockdown arrangements like we have already seen in other parts of the country.

Here is the letter in full:

Dear business owner,

Increase in number of COVID-19 cases in Gateshead

As you may know, the number of COVID-19 cases in Gateshead and other local areas have increased rapidly in recent days, including a number of cases associated with local pubs and restaurants. The rise in cases is significant and may result in Gateshead being added to the national watchlist of areas of concern, which may lead on to local lockdown arrangements like we have already seen in other parts of the country.

We want to do everything possible to avoid the chance of a local lockdown and are writing to reiterate the responsibilities that local businesses have in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please take the time to carefully read this letter and familiarise yourself with the contents.

As a local business owner, please ensure that you take the following actions:

1. Ensure your business is COVID secure:

As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to complete a risk assessment and ensure that strict and thorough measures are in place to make your business premises COVID-19 secure.

This includes ensuring social distancing, providing hand-washing facilities, maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes, and establishing systems for staff training and supervision to ensure these measures are in place whether patrons are present or not. There is detailed guidance for different business sectors available to help you in this respect.

  • Official guidance on risk assessments: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening
  • Risk assessment template: www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/risk-assessment-template-and-examples.htm
  • Guides for different sectors: www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Where relevant, you must have strict systems in place to maintain appropriate controls during any social events (for example weddings, family gatherings) hosted by your business. This should include promoting customer compliance with the limits on gatherings, for example through asking customers for verbal confirmation of the number of households in their party at the time of arrival.

Enforcement teams will be actively monitoring the completion of suitable COVID-19 risk assessments by businesses, and the implementation of controls in the workplace.

Because of the significant negative effect on health and the local economy of poor control of infection risk within a business, we will consider taking enforcement action against anyone found to be in breach of their legal responsibilities.

2. Keep records for Test and Trace:

Where relevant, you must have in place robust systems for recording staff, customer, and visitor information so that contact tracers can identify individuals who may have been exposed to the virus and need to self-isolate. This information should be collected in advance or upon arrival whenever possible. Guidance on the information you need to collect is available as is a toolkit with resources for communicating this process to your customers.

Please note that while these records may not be requested in response to an isolated case they will be critical in an outbreak scenario, and will be requested for contact tracing purposes. Businesses will not be asked to contact customers directly to provide test and trace advice.

3. Immediately report COVID-19 cases:

PHE have created action cards that outline the steps local businesses must follow when reporting COVID-19 cases. You can download an action card from the link below. Please read through the action card for your business type and follow its guidance on when and how to report cases. When indicated on the card, cases should be reported to the PHE North East Health Protection Team by calling 0300 303 8596 (option 1) and to Gateshead Council by emailing covidoutbreak@gateshead.gov.uk

We also encourage you to send any other local intelligence you have regarding recent COVID-19 cases to our inbox as this information is useful in helping us promptly identify and respond to local outbreaks.

Your staff may be contacted by either NHS Test and Trace or Gateshead Council, and told to self-isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or had close contact with a confirmed case. Whereas a single confirmed case may not warrant closure of a business, we may advise businesses to temporarily close if the number of staff self-isolating means that they can no longer deliver their services safely.

4. Follow testing guidance:

We have found that some businesses are responding to the occurrence of a COVID-19 case in one of their staff by asking their remaining staff to be tested and then allowing them back to work if negative. This should not be done as staff with negative results could still be incubating the disease. If other staff are considered to be close contacts within the guidance, they must self-isolate for 14 days and should only be tested if they become symptomatic. More extensive staff testing should only be undertaken at the request of the Health Protection Team and the Team's advice should be sought in the first instance.

We appreciate that the vast majority of business owners are doing their utmost to help minimise the risk of transmission and we will continue to support you however possible. However, we will not hesitate to use the appropriate legal powers to take enforcement action in order to ensure the protection of the public's health. This could include closing certain businesses if deemed necessary to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

As we have seen in other areas, continued increases in transmission may also necessitate the reintroduction of certain lockdown measures. The closure of any local business due to poor compliance with official guidance would be regrettable for the customers, the employees, and the owners, resulting in substantial lost revenue and potentially attracting significant negative media attention.

We appreciate that the behaviour of customers plays a significant role in your success and we will continue to work to remind our citizens of their responsibilities. Both the public and businesses alike have important roles to play and it is more important than ever that we do not become complacent.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch at businesscompliance@gateshead.gov.uk if you have any queries or need further support. Finally, thank you for all you continue to do to help keep Gateshead safe.
Yours sincerely

Councillor Martin Gannon
Leader, Gateshead Council
Sheena Ramsey
Chief Executive
Alice Wiseman
Director of Public Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bars and restaurants
09 September 2020

The Council has written to every business in Gateshead expressing its concern over the sharp increase in coronavirus cases in the last week.

The letter, signed by Council Leader Martin Gannon, Chief Executive Sheena Ramsey and Director of Public Health Alice Wiseman, reiterates the responsibilities that local businesses have in helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The number of cases in Gateshead and other local areas have increased rapidly in recent days, including a number of cases associated with local pubs and restaurants. The rise in cases is significant and may result in Gateshead being added to the national watchlist of areas of concern, which may lead on to local lockdown arrangements like we have already seen in other parts of the country.

Here is the letter in full:

Dear business owner,

Increase in number of COVID-19 cases in Gateshead

As you may know, the number of COVID-19 cases in Gateshead and other local areas have increased rapidly in recent days, including a number of cases associated with local pubs and restaurants. The rise in cases is significant and may result in Gateshead being added to the national watchlist of areas of concern, which may lead on to local lockdown arrangements like we have already seen in other parts of the country.

We want to do everything possible to avoid the chance of a local lockdown and are writing to reiterate the responsibilities that local businesses have in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please take the time to carefully read this letter and familiarise yourself with the contents.

As a local business owner, please ensure that you take the following actions:

1. Ensure your business is COVID secure:

As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to complete a risk assessment and ensure that strict and thorough measures are in place to make your business premises COVID-19 secure.

This includes ensuring social distancing, providing hand-washing facilities, maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes, and establishing systems for staff training and supervision to ensure these measures are in place whether patrons are present or not. There is detailed guidance for different business sectors available to help you in this respect.

  • Official guidance on risk assessments: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening
  • Risk assessment template: www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/risk-assessment-template-and-examples.htm
  • Guides for different sectors: www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Where relevant, you must have strict systems in place to maintain appropriate controls during any social events (for example weddings, family gatherings) hosted by your business. This should include promoting customer compliance with the limits on gatherings, for example through asking customers for verbal confirmation of the number of households in their party at the time of arrival.

Enforcement teams will be actively monitoring the completion of suitable COVID-19 risk assessments by businesses, and the implementation of controls in the workplace.

Because of the significant negative effect on health and the local economy of poor control of infection risk within a business, we will consider taking enforcement action against anyone found to be in breach of their legal responsibilities.

2. Keep records for Test and Trace:

Where relevant, you must have in place robust systems for recording staff, customer, and visitor information so that contact tracers can identify individuals who may have been exposed to the virus and need to self-isolate. This information should be collected in advance or upon arrival whenever possible. Guidance on the information you need to collect is available as is a toolkit with resources for communicating this process to your customers.

Please note that while these records may not be requested in response to an isolated case they will be critical in an outbreak scenario, and will be requested for contact tracing purposes. Businesses will not be asked to contact customers directly to provide test and trace advice.

3. Immediately report COVID-19 cases:

PHE have created action cards that outline the steps local businesses must follow when reporting COVID-19 cases. You can download an action card from the link below. Please read through the action card for your business type and follow its guidance on when and how to report cases. When indicated on the card, cases should be reported to the PHE North East Health Protection Team by calling 0300 303 8596 (option 1) and to Gateshead Council by emailing covidoutbreak@gateshead.gov.uk

We also encourage you to send any other local intelligence you have regarding recent COVID-19 cases to our inbox as this information is useful in helping us promptly identify and respond to local outbreaks.

Your staff may be contacted by either NHS Test and Trace or Gateshead Council, and told to self-isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or had close contact with a confirmed case. Whereas a single confirmed case may not warrant closure of a business, we may advise businesses to temporarily close if the number of staff self-isolating means that they can no longer deliver their services safely.

4. Follow testing guidance:

We have found that some businesses are responding to the occurrence of a COVID-19 case in one of their staff by asking their remaining staff to be tested and then allowing them back to work if negative. This should not be done as staff with negative results could still be incubating the disease. If other staff are considered to be close contacts within the guidance, they must self-isolate for 14 days and should only be tested if they become symptomatic. More extensive staff testing should only be undertaken at the request of the Health Protection Team and the Team's advice should be sought in the first instance.

We appreciate that the vast majority of business owners are doing their utmost to help minimise the risk of transmission and we will continue to support you however possible. However, we will not hesitate to use the appropriate legal powers to take enforcement action in order to ensure the protection of the public's health. This could include closing certain businesses if deemed necessary to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

As we have seen in other areas, continued increases in transmission may also necessitate the reintroduction of certain lockdown measures. The closure of any local business due to poor compliance with official guidance would be regrettable for the customers, the employees, and the owners, resulting in substantial lost revenue and potentially attracting significant negative media attention.

We appreciate that the behaviour of customers plays a significant role in your success and we will continue to work to remind our citizens of their responsibilities. Both the public and businesses alike have important roles to play and it is more important than ever that we do not become complacent.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch at businesscompliance@gateshead.gov.uk if you have any queries or need further support. Finally, thank you for all you continue to do to help keep Gateshead safe.
Yours sincerely

Councillor Martin Gannon
Leader, Gateshead Council
Sheena Ramsey
Chief Executive
Alice Wiseman
Director of Public Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Gateshead news

Share this page