MORE than 5,000 Wirral businesses are to be offered help from the council to ensure they are 'covid-secure' following changes to national social distancing guidelines which aim to halt the virus' spread.

A team of more 20 council officers will take to the streets from Monday, when the new Government guidance comes in, to visit a range of premises and offer any help needed to make their business as safe as it can be.

As announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday, gatherings of more than six people in any setting will be illegal from Monday.

Venues like pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas must have a system in place by law to record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff by September 18.

A name, a contact number, date of visit, arrival time and – if possible – departure time are among the details which will be needed.

Fines could be handed out if premises fail to collect contact information or book in groups of more than six. Further details on the rules are soon to be announced.

Mr Johnson said there will also be a restriction of opening hours of premises in “some local areas”.

From Monday, hospitality businesses will be required by law to ask for and keep contact details of visitors and customers in case they are required for the Test and Trace process.

Local authorities are expected to take a stronger role in ensuring as many businesses as possible adhere to all Covid-19 legislation that applies to them and pursue enforcement action if necessary.

A council spokesperson said: "the large-scale engagement exercise will follow the launch of a council-led, self-assessment accreditation scheme for businesses which will allow them to promote themselves as an official ‘Covid-secure’ business to give their customers confidence that they have all the required procedures in place for their safety and the safety of staff.

“These last few months have been incredibly tough for many local businesses and even since they’ve been allowed to get staff and customers back through their doors, they have had a dizzying array of advice and guidance they have had to follow, and in many cases they have to make significant investment to make adaptations to their premises.

"Against that backdrop, the last thing we want to be doing is adding to their difficulties by issuing fines or having to take court action.

"By putting together this scheme, we are making a commitment to get everyone working together and looking out for each other - to keep business booming, while also protecting the community as much as possible from the potential spread of the Covid-19 virus."

Cllr Williamson added: “It is a balancing act, but we know in Wirral we have a long and proud history of pulling together when it is needed.

"By supporting businesses to make themselves ‘Covid-secure’ and giving them accreditation to acknowledge their efforts, we hope that customers will be reassured and encouraged to play their part by adhering to the new ‘rule of 6’ and other measures such as social distancing, hand hygiene and wearing face coverings.”

One of the first businesses to apply for the new Covid-secure accreditation is Tappers Gin distillery, based on the old Champions site in Upton.

Explaining why it is so important for his business to be recognised as ‘Covid-secure’, Tappers founder Steve Tapril, said: “The safety of our customers, visitors and team is absolutely our number one priority. As a working distillery, we’re committed to the highest standards of health and safety and food hygiene.

"We therefore welcome this initiative by Wirral Council to help businesses such as ours achieve COVID-secure accreditation.

"We hope the scheme provides much needed reassurance to the public that, with the support of Wirral Council, we and other businesses certified as COVID-secure have implemented measures to keep everyone as safe as possible during the pandemic.”

Wirral businesses can now download a new online toolkit for guidance, support and advice on Covid-19 and sign up to become ‘Covid-secure’ accredited by visiting 

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