Businesses across Newcastle are being urged to give their customers the confidence to return by signing up to a new, free Covid Compliant Assurance Scheme.
The project, run by Newcastle City Council, with backing from NE1 and NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI), aims to offer a highly visible way for all premises to show they have taken the right steps to keep staff and the public as safe as they can.
A simple way to see businesses are doing the right thing
Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet member for employment and culture, said: “We know that businesses across the city have, and continue, to do all they can to protect people during these difficult times and are ready to welcome residents, workers and visitors back, just as soon as lockdown measures allow.
“Yet whether its shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and beauty salons, theatres, cinemas, gyms, offices, soft play, trampoline parks or events we know – as Covid-19 has not gone away – that some people might need some reassurance to return and once again use the services they offer.
“That’s why we’ve launched this new, free, easy to apply for scheme – To offer a simple way for everyone to see our businesses are doing the right thing and that our vibrant city is a safe place to spend their time.”
Less than 10 minutes to apply
Managed by the council’s public safety and regulation team, which includes environmental health and licensing officers, the accreditation should take businesses less than 10 minutes to apply for, using documents and information they should already have.
Cllr John Paul Stephenson, Cabinet member for environment and regulatory services, said: “As part of the process they’ll agree to unannounced monitoring visits, so the public can be confident that standards are being maintained.
“And in exchange, businesses will receive a large, colourful sticker to place in their window, to show they are Covid compliant, and will have their details included on an online interactive map, so potential customers can see in advance who has made the effort to offer that reassurance.”
Promoting high standards
Stephen Patterson, director of communications at NE1 Ltd, which represents the interests of 1,400 city centre firms said: “Newcastle’s businesses have invested heavily to make their premises and practices Covid-19 secure, to provide the safest possible environment for both staff and customers.
“Throughout the pandemic, city centre businesses have gone above and beyond, and it is right that we now have an accreditation scheme that recognises their efforts and provides reassurance to the public that they can return safely and enjoy all that Newcastle has to offer.
“We are fortunate to have so many ambitious and committed businesses in the city centre and it is fitting that we now have a scheme that supports and promotes these high standards.”
We’re Good To Go
Accredited businesses will also be encouraged to also apply for Visit Britain’s free national We’re Good to Go scheme, which is recognised by the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Paul Szomoru, director of business events at NGI said: “The Covid Compliant Assurance Scheme will play a crucial role in helping to build consumer confidence as we look towards encouraging local people and visitors to return to our venues once again.
“Businesses have worked so hard to ensure they operate in a covid safe way, and this scheme will ensure this hard work in acknowledged by both regulators and by the public.
“Lots of tourism businesses have already signed up to the VisitBritain and VisitEngland UK-wide industry standard ‘We’re Good To Go’ which helps profile our city and businesses nationally and internationally, encouraging visitors back and the much-needed economic boost they bring.
“Those signed up can now also be automatically issued with the international ‘Safe Travels’ stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council.
“We urge all businesses to sign up to both the Covid Compliant Assurance Scheme and ‘We’re Good To Go’ standard as both schemes will further support us in championing our city on a regional, national, and international stage as a safe place to visit and enjoy.”
Sign up now
For more information about which businesses are already accredited, or to find out more and make an application, visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/covidcompliant