Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health Margaret Jones, has written to managers of the Borough’s supermarkets to support their efforts to keep customers and staff safe from COVID-19.
In her letter, Mrs Jones thanks them for their tireless work and for the measures stores are taking to ensure COVID safe practices are followed by members of the public. These include ensuring all staff and customers wear a face covering unless medically exempt, that people shop on their own where possible and that they maintain distancing in store.
Other measures include controlling numbers in the store, layouts, signs and floor markings to promote social distancing, providing hand sanitizer and the facilities to disinfect shopping trollies and baskets and frequent disinfection of regularly-touched surfaces.
Mr Jones also reminds store managers that their staff can use Sefton Council’s SMART test centres at Bootle Leisure Centre, Aintree Race Course and Splash World in Southport.
The Lateral Flow tests available at the sites are for people without coronavirus symptoms. The results tell people whether they are unknowingly carrying the COVID-19 virus and can help prevent them from spreading it accidentally to customers, colleagues and family members who may be vulnerable. Results can come through in as little as 30 minutes.
This week, the Council has extended opening hours at its three test sites to 8am to 8pm to make it easier for people who are working to go along for a test. No appointments are necessary. It is recommended that those who are working and having to go out and mix with others should get tested every five days.
People wanting a test can check on the live Find a Test map to see if the sites are busy and how long you might have to wait.
Because the Government’s latest regulations say that people in England must ‘stay at home’ except for essential purposes, only key workers, including those who work in the shops and supermarkets that are open and those with caring commitments during the lockdown should now go for a SMART test. Everyone else should be staying at home, not mixing with others outside our household or bubble, and only going out for local exercise and to shop for essentials. This means we don’t currently need a SMART test unless there are specific circumstances.
Margaret Jones said:
“In my role as a Director of Public Health and as a supermarket user, I really do appreciate the efforts that the stores and their staff are making to enable us to buy the essential supplies we need and keep us safe.
“It is important we all play our part by following the guidance that’s in place for our own safety and respecting that supermarket staff are just doing their job when they ask us to comply.
“And, anyone who is having to go out to work can and should go to get tested and regularly re-tested at our three SMART test sites, from 8am to 8pm seven days a week.”
She finishes her letter with a reminder that anyone showing coronavirus symptoms – a fever, a new continuous cough or a loss of taste or smell should self-isolate and book a test straight away by visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.