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Derry's council reveals it has received almost 500 complaints about alleged breaches of Covid regulations

Local authority says no fixed penalty notices have been issued

Council opens applications for its Cultural Grants Aid Fund

Derry City and Strabane District Council has received 474 complaints about businesses allegedly breaching Covid regulations.

The council said that staff from its environment health department had carried out almost 200 visits to local premises in relation to the concerns raised.

The local authority said no fixed penalty notices have been issued in relation to Covid breaches as their 'key approach' has been to 'engage, encourage and educate businesses, with enforcement as a last option'.

Details of the complaints received emerged yesterday during a Covid-related briefing which was attended remotely by local councillors and council staff.

At the meeting, councillors received an update in relation to the additional restrictions that have been placed across the council area.

The meeting was told that 20 people out of the council's 1000-strong workforce had tested positive for Covid-19.

A council spokesperson said a 'small' number of staff self-isolating.

“Reassurance was given that all measures to protect staff are in place and regular engagement with staff and unions is ongoing.

“Members were reminded that every effort would be made to retain all essential services and that possible impacts on services was inevitable over the coming days and weeks as managers adapt to new working practices and possible further staff issues.”

The spokesperson said councillors were given an overview at yesterday's meeting of the level of business engagement and support that is being provided by the council’s business team.

“It included an overview of the latest funding announcement by the Finance Minister for businesses operating in this council area that states that between £400 and £600 per week will be made available to those in the hospitality sector, in addition to a 12 month rates holiday.

“Members were informed that the details of businesses registered with the Council’s Environmental Health section were shared with the Department for Finance and the business team are assisting businesses with the application and to help explain some of the criteria in place.

“It is anticipated that monies will be available from next week.

“It was also explained that the fund is being made available initially for a two week period but will be extended should the restrictions remain in place across the Council area.

“Members acknowledged the funding package but said more needed to be done to provide support and assistance to businesses who were suffering as a result of the restrictions.

“The Mayor Cllr Brian Tierney told members how he has today written to the UK Chancellor for the Exchequer highlighting the challenges facing businesses in the Council area and calling for additional financial support and an extension of the furlough scheme.”

 

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