Leader's column: Working together for a #SafeTameside reopening

In her latest column, Tameside Council's Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington urges people to follow the safety measures in place when working, shopping and travelling across the borough.

The struggle against the coronavirus pandemic took a new step last week, as non-essential shops opened to the public once again.

I think I speak for many people when I say that getting back to something approaching normal life should be welcomed, but the fact remains that the pandemic is far from over.

That’s why we’ve joined up with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the other local authorities in our city region to part take in the ‘Safety Reopening GM’ campaign. 

This co-ordinated effort is designed to ensure that both employers and employees are aware of what they need to do to work and travel safely as the lockdown eases.

If you’re a member of the public who wants to go out shopping then please first think about how you’re going to get there. 

Public transport capacity is still reduced to comply with social distancing so if possible use a car or, even better, take advantage of the new infrastructure we’re building in Tameside to make walking and cycling easier. 

If you do take public transport, remember that wearing a face covering is now a mandatory requirement. 

The need for social distancing may also mean that people will have to continue to queue up to get into shops if they are busy.

If you’re an employer in Tameside then you will be required to put in place social distancing and safety measures to ensure that that you are ‘coronavirus secure.’ 

Exactly what this means will vary from business to business, but typically involves carrying out a comprehensive risk assessment, one-way systems, having cleaning and hygiene procedures such as handwashing stations or sanitisers in place, and taking all reasonable steps to maintain social distancing. 

Individual owners who do not follow these guidelines may be fined or prosecuted, and businesses can be issued with prohibition notices or, as a last resort, made to close down entirely.

As we gradually emerge from the lockdown the next few weeks are likely to be essential in determining how the situation develops. 

From the shop that puts down floor markers to help customers maintain social distancing, the office that lets its employees work from home, to the person that wears a face covering on public transport, we all have a role to play in continuing to protect ourselves and those around us. 

The more we do, the sooner we will put this terrible pandemic behind us.

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