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New Covid Reassurance Mark to help restore customer confidence

08 December 2020
Derry City and Strabane District Council's Business and Culture Committee today approved the introduction of a new scheme to support local businesses keen to help rebuild public confidence in the recovery from Covid-19.
The Covid Reassurance Mark will indicate that businesses have introduced risk assessed control measures in their premises in line with government guidance. Businesses will be encouraged to take part in the self-declaration process, and upon successful completion they can display Derry City and Strabane District Councils COVID Reassurance Mark on their premises. This initiative is being rolled out City and District wide to businesses within the tourism, hospitality retail and close contact sectors.
The scheme is the latest phase of Council's wider city centre recovery and revitalisation plans, which includes a range of interventions to support local businesses who have faced significant challenges in responding to the Covid crisis.
The Covid Reassurance Mark will provide customers with comfort that businesses have risk assessed health and safety measures in place to help reduce the risk of transmission and safeguard both customers and staff.
Council's Head of Business, Kevin O'Connor, informed members at today's monthly committee meeting that the Covid Reassurance Mark involves a five-step self-assessment process that businesses must follow in order to achieve the COVID Reassurance Mark. He said it would reassure customers that businesses are regularly maintaining their cleaning regime, handwashing and sanitising facilities, social-distancing measures and general hygiene procedures.
"Businesses will complete the self-declaration process online and submit a Covid19 Risk Assessment," he explained. "The onus is then on the businesses to comply with the regulations and guidance and Council's Environmental Health team will continue to investigate complaints in relation to compliance with the relevant regulations. Standard enforcement action will apply.
"This is a very positive step encouraging local businesses to take a proactive approach to restoring customer confidence by implementing a number of simple safety measures. While businesses here have already made significant efforts to safeguard their customers this will reduce uncertainty and ensure a consistent approach throughout the City and District."
 Welcoming today's endorsement of the scheme, Chair of the Business and Culture Committee, Cllr Rory Farrell, said it would help allay concerns and help boost the local economy. 
"This is a very positive move and I'm glad to see so much support amongst members during today's virtual meeting. While there have been very welcome developments regarding a vaccination programme, it will be many months before we see a return to normality on the high street. Therefore it's vitally important that we continue to support local businesses in creating a safe and welcoming environment to restore customer confidence and ensure levels of trade continue to grow as soon as conditions allow.
"I would encourage all local businesses to sign up for the scheme to ensure they are ready to welcome people back through their doors with confidence, positive in the knowledge that they have done all they can to protect their customers and staff."
Council's Environmental Health and Business teams have been working together on the development of the scheme, businesses will be able to access advice via Council's Online Platforms and receive one-to-one guidance from the Business Support Team on how to sign up. Anyone with any concerns or issues about a premises can get in contact with the relevant Council teams.
Council will continue to work closely with the business community and relevant stakeholders and will launch a dedicated marketing scheme to raise awareness and encourage businesses to sign up to this initiative.