Licensed drivers urged to sign up to COVID-safe standard in Cheshire West and Chester

13 August 2021

Licensed taxi and private hire drivers are invited to showcase how they are driving COVID-19 safety in Cheshire West and Chester.

Private hire and taxi drivers licensed by Cheshire West and Chester Council are being invited to sign up to the Council's 'Driving COVID-19 Safety' standard and show that they are taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep themselves and their passengers safe.

Funding and support are available for those licensed drivers who sign up.

Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "This gives licensed drivers in the borough the opportunity to demonstrate to their customers that they take the risk of COVID-19 seriously and take the recommended steps to reduce the risk of infection.

"COVID-19 infection rates in the borough are still high and, as we move towards autumn and winter when viruses like this tend to spread more, this standard gives drivers the opportunity to show customers that their services can be used with confidence."

To achieve the standard, taxi and private hire vehicle drivers licensed by Cheshire West and Chester Council must agree to meet a series of criteria:

These include:
  • the installation of a safe screen in the licensed vehicle to separate the front and rear compartments (if they do not already have one), funded by the Council (see below)
  • making hand sanitiser available for the driver and passengers
  • avoiding the use of the front passenger seat wherever possible, but making sure spare face coverings are available if it does need to be used
  • cleaning touch points like door handles regularly throughout a shift, followed by a thorough clean between shifts
  • maintaining good ventilation in the vehicle
  • drivers taking a no-symptoms Lateral Flow Test (LFT) twice a week
  • drivers refusing entry to passengers who have tested positive for or shown any COVID-19 symptoms in the past 10 days (passengers in these circumstances should avoid using public transport and book a PCR test at a site within walking distance or order a home PCR test - for more information visit: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test)
  • drivers keeping up to date with current COVID-19 guidance and best practice.
The Council has secured funding to support COVID-safety, enabling it to award all participating drivers £180 to help them meet the standard and cover the cost of materials. They will also receive a 'Driving COVID-19 Safety' certificate and a sticker to display in their vehicles to show their commitment to meeting the standard and reducing the spread of the virus.

The installation of new COVID-safe screens will also be covered by the funds secured by the Council. In addition, any screens already installed will be inspected and, if they do not meet the specification and funding allows, the cost of a replacement screen will be covered by the Council. The Council will also aim to reimburse drivers who have already had a screen fitted that meets the specification, as funding allows and on a case-by-case basis.

Cllr Karen Shore, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said: "This initiative gives the Council a chance to recognise our licensed taxi and private hire drivers who, like many small businesses, have been hit hard by the pandemic.

"This is an opportunity to thank drivers for their work during this pandemic and support them to recover.

"We want to help them to keep driving forward the highest safety standards to keep themselves, their passengers and our borough COVID-safe."

For more information visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/drivingcovidsafety or to sign up email: drivingcovidsafety@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.

For information about COVID-19 testing with or without symptoms visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/c19testing.

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