Covid inspections carried out in Reading as businesses adapt to new rules

Watch: Full report by ITV News Meridian's Mel Bloor

Non essential shops, bars, restaurants, beauty salons and hairdressers have been reopen for just over a week now but with the easing of restrictions, there are new measures for businesses to comply with. 

ITV News Meridian has been invited out with Reading Borough Council's High Risk Team to film a Covid-secure inspection taking place at a hair salon in Reading.


businesses in Reading have been visited by inspectors during the pandemic

Visits are usually unannounced, and they can be a physical visit or businesses might get a phone call or visit from the council's partners at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The team are currently targeting premises that have recently reopened such as outdoor hospitality and salons.

Environmental Health Officers visit Style Nation by Kimmy in Reading

Employers must, by law, protect their workforce and others from harm and this includes taking steps to minimise the risk of Coronavirus such as:

  • carrying out a Covid-19 risk assessment

  • maintaining social distancing

  • keeping your workplace clean, with hand-washing and hygiene procedures

I have to follow all the guidelines so with that it's a bit more on the expensive side where I have to get gowns on a regular because we dispose every gown after each client. We have to get more towels in, more sanitisers. I have to have less clients come in the salon as well.

Kimmy Roache, owner of Style Nation by Kimmy

An inspector making checks to ensure the hair salon is Covid-secure

The council says inspections are not designed to catch businesses out but instead offer expert advice. 

During the checks, inspectors provide guidance to help manage risks and protect customers and staff but where businesses are not managing this, further action can be taken.

This can range from carrying out follow up inspections, and in serious cases taking enforcement action, or stopping certain work practices until they are made safe.

For some Covid restrictions, there are financial penalties immediately which can build up to be quite significant if people get multiple financial penalties. There are also powers under Health and Safety legislation around improvement notices and even prohibition if there's significant failings.

Stuart Taylor, Senior Environmental Health Officer

For more information, visit the HSE's website here.