As part of the project, which was initially launched last year, the HSE will be in touch with a number of local businesses to ensure they have everything they need to offer a safe COVID-secure environment. They will provide advice and guidance to help manage risk and to protect workers, customers and visitors.

Where the HSE feels the risk is not being appropriately managed, they will work with the business to improve this, only referring serious cases back to the council for follow up action. In the interests of everyone's safety, should a business fail to comply, further action may be taken, including prosecution.

Councillor Penny Plant, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Chichester Contract Services said: "Since the coronavirus pandemic began, we have been working hard to offer as much support and guidance to local businesses as we possibly can, and this project is just one example.

"Over the coming weeks, businesses may receive a phone call from the Health and Safety Executive to ensure they are COVID-secure and to provide additional advice and support. Businesses of any size or in any sector may receive a call, so we're keen to let businesses know that this is a legitimate project.

"Being COVID-secure is a legal duty for businesses to protect their workers and others from harm, and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk and protect people from coronavirus.

"Over the past year, our Health Protection team have been talking to local businesses, offering them support and information and we've been really impressed with how they have responded so positively and proactively to making their premises safe for shoppers and workers.

"By making sure that businesses have the right measures in place to manage the risks, we will be able to protect the health of the local community as well as support the local and national UK economy. This project with the Health and Safety Executive has helped identify where businesses need further support, including cleaning regimes and advice on monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing. This continues to be really important as we follow the Government's roadmap out of lockdown and more of our district businesses reopen.

"If you are a district business and have questions about current Government regulations, or you need help with you risk assessment or signposting to other support offered by Chichester District Council, please contact the council's Health Protection Team by emailing: healthprotection@chichester.gov.uk or calling: 01243 534602."

For the latest information, business advice and support, as well as safer business guidance, please visit: Coronavirus support for businesses.

Date of release: 24 May 2021

Reference: 4006