Highland Council Environment Health Officers and the Police have been visiting businesses in Inverness city centre in a bid to raise public confidence, demonstrating that the city centre is doing all it can to ensure public safety as lockdown restrictions are eased.

On 15 July, Police and Environmental Health Officer conducted a joint patrol with partners Police Scotland to carry out checks and also issue advice and assistance to businesses and the public in the city centre– with the focus on adherence to Scottish Government guidelines and any help that premises may need. They will also do the same on 22 July.

Alan Yates, the Highland Council’s Environmental Health Manager, said: “The reopening of pubs, bars and restaurants is obviously good news for businesses and the wider Highland economy. However, it is essential that we remember that COVID-19 has not gone away and still poses a considerable public health risk. The Environmental Health Service calls on all pubs, bar, restaurants and retail premises to keep in mind their responsibilities and ensure that physical distancing and other public health measures outlined in the Scottish Government guidance are properly implemented.

“Our officers are conducting joint patrols with our partners Police Scotland in Inverness city centre to engage and provide reassurance to businesses and customers alike but also to respond to any issues where non-compliance is identified. From initial findings it is clear that businesses have made great efforts to comply and implement the Scot Gov guidance and this has been very reassuring to see. Further joint patrols will be conducted and should any businesses require further advice prior to opening or simply to seek clarification on the guidance then I would urge them to contact our Service.”

Sergeant Julie Conner said: “Police Scotland’s Chief Constable has made it clear that we are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to stay safe, protect others and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading. Our officers will continue to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance alongside our partners, and encourage compliance – enforcement will be used only as a last resort where there is a clear breach of the legislation.

“We were pleased to support today’s checks to provide advice and guidance to businesses and raise public confidence that the city-centre is doing all it can to ensure the safety of the public. I would urge all pubs, bar and restaurants to keep in mind their responsibilities and ensure that physical distancing and other public health measures outlined in the Scottish Government guidance are properly adhered to for the sake and safety of everyone.”

Mike Smith Inverness BID Manager welcomed the support from the Council and Police, he said: “ Inverness BID and the businesses in general welcome this positive and pro-active approach by the relevant agencies to provide direct advice and guidance to the city centre premises operating in what is unprecedented circumstances. Not only will this provide a degree of support to businesses as to the measures they have taken to protect their clients, customers and their staff, but it will also raise awareness across the wider population that we all have individual responsibilities to ensure we observe the good practice guidance and social distancing in place to keep ourselves and others safe.”

Photo Credit- Highland Council