We carried out over 200 patrols and face-to-face visits last week, providing Covid-secure advice to businesses across the borough as they returned to the high street for the first time since December.

Since the 12 April 2021 reopening, 50 Covid Marshals have also joined our Public Protection Officers, working closely with police, supporting them in enforcing any flouting of the rules.

Officers have also advised businesses that have had to make changes to their premises so they can operate safely under the current regulations.

Specifically, the Council has worked closely with hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants.

They have been helping them make the adjustments they need to operate an outdoor-only service, ahead of further easing of restrictions currently planned for mid-May.

A new process was put in place to grant quick temporary licences to businesses.

This makes it easier to place temporary furniture, such as tables and chairs, outside of cafes, bars and restaurants.

These visits are part of a wider package of support for local businesses and we continue to follow this Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

This includes:  

  • A downloadable booklet was also made available by the Council, acting as a quick reference guide on most important steps businesses need to take to comply with government guidance. This has guidance on carrying out risk assessments, imposing social distancing within premises, and workplace cleaning routines. 
  • The Havering Business Innovation Grant to help small businesses to adapt to become Covid-secure, build long-term resilience and recover from restrictions. This included adding sneeze screens, contactless payments and other Covid measures. Wave one of the Business Innovation Grant has now closed, but the Council will soon launch a second phase in line with the next stage of the Government's roadmap.
  • Free parking in all Council-owned car parks and on-street parking bays until 9 May 2021, to help residents shop local and give a boost to businesses.

Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council, said:

“It has been an unimaginably difficult year for so many businesses due to the pandemic.

"Equally, there are still many challenges businesses will face, as they continue to open up again.

“I’m proud to say that the Council continues to support local businesses.

"This support is both financially through grant schemes and with advice and guidance enabling them to keep customers and employees safe as we emerge from the pandemic.

“We also need residents and visitors to our borough to keep doing their bit.

"This will help businesses by abiding by the regulations in place when visiting the high streets, and getting tested twice a week.

"If we all work together, we can look forward to the better days that are ahead.”

During the past 12 months, the Council’s Business Helpline service, manned by council staff, has received over 10,000 calls, dealing with a wide range of enquiries. 

It has also supported thousands of businesses to access support, information and grant funding they needed to carry on trading throughout the pandemic.

Businesses can also stay up to date with the latest news and guidance with the Council’s free weekly Business Briefing email newsletter. 

Published: 22 April 2021