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Taking action to make sure businesses are Covid-secure

Published: Thursday, 21st January 2021

Michael Duck

Enviro health

"Our Environmental Health Team has been carrying out mystery shopper visits to local businesses to make sure they are Covid-secure,” said Councillor Mohammed Iqbal MBE, Leader of Pendle Council.

“When issues are spotted which raise their concern, our Covid Compliance Officer makes an inspection,” he explained.

Pendle Council’s Environmental Health Team has been checking a range of businesses in Pendle, including supermarkets, offices, shops and takeaways.

“And the Government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is continuing to do spot checks of businesses in Pendle to ensure they are Covid-19 secure. 

HSE carries out the checks over the phone to assess the level of COVID awareness each business has and what control measures they have in place.  

“Any business getting a phone call from the HSE must co-operate and answer their questions – participation is not optional,” warned Councillor Iqbal.

“If the HSE has any concerns, they pass details on to our Environmental Health team so that we can do a follow up visit,” he explained.  

Since December and up to the first week in January they have contacted 500 Pendle businesses and of these 29 have been referred to our Environmental Health Team for a follow-up inspection.

Michael Duck leads the Environmental Health Team.   He said:

“One of the biggest problems has been people breaking the law by not wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces such as supermarkets and food stores.

“Supermarkets are being asked to put staff at the entrances to make sure people wear face coverings in the stores and use the sanitisers on the way in,” he stated.
The Government has introduced heavy fines for businesses which are not Covid-19 secure because they are putting customers and staff at risk.

The Police or the Council can issue fixed penalty notice with fines for a business which are not Covid secure. 

For example if a business hasn’t carried out a risk assessment, covering an effective cleaning regime, social distancing and mask wearing. 

Typical fines are £1000 for the first offence, £2000 for the second, £4000 for the third, with £10,000 for the fourth and subsequent offences.   

 “To protect customers, we’re also reminding shops and supermarkets to step up their efforts in sanitising chip and pin card devices when key pads have been used,“ explained Michael.
And he added: “We aren’t just enforcers, we’re here to offer support! 

“If a business or organisation needs advice, we can help, call us on 01282 662009 or email us on 

Details on how businesses must be Covid-19 secure are on Pendle Council’s website and on

Anyone who is worried that a business in Pendle isn’t following the rules and is putting staff and customers at risk can report it via 
Or people can ring Michael Duck in Environmental Health on 01282 662009. 

“Local people are an important part of us working together to reduce the spread and we are grateful for people who alert us to places we need to check out,” explained Michael.
When Environmental Health Officers visit a business which isn’t Covid-19 secure they advise the manager on the immediate action they must take.

“And then we visit the business the following day to make sure improvements have been made,” explained Michael. 

“In the vast majority of cases, the business has taken the right action,” he said.

Councillor Iqbal added:  “I am really proud of the way our Environmental Health Team and partners in the Police and the Health and Safety Executive are working together to protect our community.

“But we must all do our bit to follow the regulations,” he added.

“Make sure you wear a face coverings when out shopping and if you have to use public transport or use a taxi.

“Don’t mix with other households, keep a safe distance from others, wash hands regularly including before and after leaving your home and always carry hand sanitiser with you when you are out.

“All the latest regulations and stay safe rules are on our website  please check you are following them!” He added.