An accreditation scheme assessing COVID-19 safety measures has relaunched today to promote public confidence in London’s pubs, restaurants, gyms, hairdressers and shops.

A wider range of sectors are now covered following a successful pilot, to help the City recover as employees and visitors return to the Square Mile.

The City of London Corporation has teamed up with the London boroughs of Southwark and Camden to run the initiative, which aims to support firms in their reopening and reassure customers that premises are safe to visit.

Businesses already signed up include beauty salons, restaurants and retailers – and the City Corporation is encouraging more to join now.

Under the scheme local government environmental health practitioners assess businesses’ COVID-19 risk assessments and procedures, and carry out site visits to look at social distancing measures, customer track and trace, and cleanliness.

Firms are given a simple pass or fail. Those who fail will still have the opportunity to put into place remedial measures as advised by the officers when on site and then be re-assessed.

A sticker is awarded to businesses to display on their premises and the result will be posted on each local authority and the City Corporation’s websites.

Small businesses that directly interact with the public and are signed up to the scheme will be eligible to apply to a new COVID Business Recovery Fund set up by the City Corporation, which also launched today.

The fund is designed to support SMEs which contribute to the Square Mile’s vibrancy at street level and directly provide services to returning City workers, visitors and residents.

It aims to support those businesses that can show through the grant application process, a likelihood that with support they have a reasonable chance to survive beyond the short-term.

Chairman of the City of London Corporation‘s Environmental Services Committee, Keith Bottomley, said:

“It’s been a hugely challenging time for so many businesses, large and small, and we want to support them as much as possible to get back up and running again successfully.

“We are pleased that City firms have stepped forward to take part over the last few months and we urge more businesses to take part in the scheme as soon as possible. We need to show the public that we are back open, and we are open safely.

“Increasing customer confidence in safety provisions will help pubs, restaurants and shops in central London to responsibly increase much needed footfall.”

The pilot, which was set up in September last year, was the first of its kind launched by a UK governing body.

For more information on the scheme and how to sign up, visit the webpage here.

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