Our stories - Businesses back COVID ZERO

Businesses across the south were today urged to throw their weight behind a campaign to protect the Southampton community and its hospitals by stopping the spread of COVID-19.

University Hospital Southampton is on a mission to safely resume services and start clearing the backlog of patients who had operations postponed and treatment delayed.

The campaign, called COVID ZERO, has one clear message both for the Southampton community as well as the Trust’s 11,500 staff; Walk, Wear, Wash.

Now as lockdown eases further, businesses in the city including shops, restaurants, hair salons and tattoo parlours are being urged to do their bit and cut out and display a poster in their window reminding people to take the simple protective measures.

The aim of COVID ZERO is to enable the Trust to return services as quickly as possible while keeping staff and patients safe from the threat of COVID-19. By walking apart, wearing facemasks and washing hand regularly, the aim is to ensure that there is no transmission of the virus within hospitals and to lower rates in the community so there is less risk to patients and staff.

Hospital bosses have warned that failure to keep to the guidance could mean the very real possibility of a second, bigger wave that could overwhelm the city’s NHS services.

One business owner backing the campaign is Charlene Holmes, owner of CH Hairdressing at 310 Shirley Road.

>>> Download your own COVID ZERO poster here and show your support for the campaign<<<

The 34-year-old reopened her salon on Monday after more than three months of closure during the lockdown. She spent those months making and sewing face masks as well as bags for NHS staff to carry their scrubs in.

She said: “It’s amazing to finally be at the point where I can welcome my clients back. It’s been a difficult few months for my business and like everyone, I am so pleased that we have reached the point where we can open again safely.

“I have worked really hard and followed the government guidance to ensure my salon is a safe environment for customers.

“The last thing I want is to be back in a lockdown again because the infection rate has risen in our community – that’s why I am backing COVID ZERO and I will be urging my clients to do so too.”

Derek Sandeman, chief medical officer at UHS, urged people to continue to do the right things so that we could maintain low transmission rates.

He said: “It is clear that people are beginning to feel that we have won the war against COVID-19, but this is not the case.

“Nothing has changed, the pandemic is still here – the virus is still in our community and it remains infectious and dangerous. The numbers remain higher now than when it began.

“It kills the young, the old, the healthy, the fit, those with ill-health and those in their prime. It takes decades of life from those who die, it can easily and rapidly return, threatening to overwhelm us.”