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‘Tough times for local businesses, but we are doing everything we can to help them,’ says Council Leader

17th November 2020

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The latest four-week national lockdown is another severe blow to many businesses in the Three Rivers district which have been forced to temporarily close. 

The national restrictions apply in England until 2 December with all non-essential retail, including clothing shops, hairdressers, nail bars, vehicle showrooms, travel agents and betting shops, required to close, although it is legal to offer click and collect and mail order. 

For others in the retail and hospitality sectors providing essential goods and services, including food shops and supermarkets, they can continue to legally operate as long as they have the appropriate Covid safe measures in place. Pubs, cafes and restaurants can only legally offer takeaway services.

Navigating the raft of new regulations to ensure compliance and the safety of their staff and customers is a potential minefield for small businesses. But with the help and support of environmental health officers, many businesses continue to trade. 

Cllr Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Shared Resources at Three Rivers District Council, said environmental health officers are working closely with local businesses to help them continue to operate safely. 

He said: “First and foremost their job is to protect the local community by ensuring that businesses comply with a wide range of laws.

“But the main focus is to give practical support to businesses. These are unprecedented times and the government guidance is constantly changing, and it’s different depending on the type of business. It’s new for all of us, so it’s completely understandable that some business owners may find it confusing.

“That’s where we can help. We can talk through the guidance with business owners to make sure they fully understand it, and advise them on the steps they need to take to keep their business operating within the law. 

“We’ve been monitoring businesses across Three Rivers and the vast majority have excellent controls in place to protect their staff and public.”

Cllr Sarah Nelmes, Leader of Three Rivers District Council, said the council is doing everything it can to support local businesses. 

“The Covid pandemic has had a terrible impact on many businesses, particularly those which rely on face-to-face customers. 

“I’ve been hugely impressed to see first-hand how many local businesses have quickly adapted - whether by offering click and collect services, improving their online presence or in the case of cafes and restaurants, offering takeaways.”

  • Visit our Business Support page for more information including details of Local Restrictions Support Grants. 
  • Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership also offers advice and support. 
  • If you still need help finding out how your business is affected by the regulations, please contact the County Business Advice Line on 01707 281401 or email trading.standards@hertfordshire.gov.uk
  • For specific enquiries on how to remain Covid secure, contact environmental health officers in our shared service team at envhealth@watford.gov.uk
  • See this page for government advice.