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Ballymoney
Sunday, June 20, 2021

A message for business owners
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Business owners in the Borough will soon receive a letter from Council’s Environmental Health team which highlights key requirements that now apply to the operation of your business following the introduction of new COVID-19 restrictions.

Everyone has a role to play in tackling the pandemic and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is appealing to all business owners to familiarise themselves with current public health legislation and guidance.

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We are grateful for your continued cooperation during these challenging times.

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If you have any queries, please contact the Health and Safety team on 028 2766 0257 or email healthandsafety@causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk.

You can read the full letter, which includes links to the current legislation and guidance, below.

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COVID-19 Restrictions

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is increasing in Northern Ireland everyone has a role to play in tackling the pandemic.  Business operators are responsible for complying with current legislation (available from the Department of Health website) and in accordance with the latest public health and government guidance.

As you will be aware new restrictions have been introduced in Northern Ireland to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and I would take this opportunity to summarise and highlight some key requirements that now apply to the operation of your business. Links to legislation and guidance have been embedded into this letter for your convenience.

The new regulations, namely, Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (Amendment No. 9) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 and Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) Amendment No. 10) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 are now in force and require the following:

Restrictions on the Hospitality Sector

Any business or members’ club which sells or provides food or drink (including intoxicating liquor) for consumption on the premises must:

close any premises, or part of premises, in which food or drink (including intoxicating liquor) are consumed on the premises.
·not sell or provide food or drink (including intoxicating liquor) for consumption on its premises.

You may therefore sell or provide food or drink (not including intoxicating liquor) for consumption off the premises in response to orders placed between the hours of 05:00 and 23:00.

Outdoor Seating

An area adjacent to the premises where seating is made available for customers of the business or members’ club is to be treated as part of the premises.

You may therefore not provide or make available seating for customers to use for the consumption of food and drink in any outdoor area or land either within your ownership or under the ownership of another person or body e.g. pavement, public land.

This legislation supersedes pavement café licence legislation and you are therefore not permitted to operate a pavement café even if you have previously been issued with a licence to do so.

Face Coverings

The legislation relating to face coverings namely the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of face Coverings) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 requires the following unless subject to medical exemption:

Staff in retail and hospitality settings must wear a face covering indoors in areas accessible to the public, unless they are separated from members of the public by a partition.
Customers must also wear face coverings in retail and hospitality settings.

Further guidance on face coverings is available at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-face-coverings

Failure to address and comply with the above legislation and guidance puts staff, customers and other visitors to your premises at risk. Environmental Health Officers are monitoring premises and surveillance will be carried out at any time as necessary.

Where contraventions are detected which present an unacceptable risk we will have no option other than to take formal action in line with the Council’s enforcement policy (available at www.causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk) to secure the necessary improvements.

The risk from COVID-19 is too great to overlook.  Such action may involve business closure until adequate steps are taken to eliminate or reduce risk to an acceptable level.  In addition, civil action may be taken by employees where they have been exposed to the risk of contracting the virus when reasonably practicable steps have not been implemented.

Thank you in anticipation of your cooperation.  If you have any queries, please contact the Health and Safety team of the Environmental Health Department on 028 2766 0257 or email healthandsafety@causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk

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