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​​​​​​​CO2 monitors helping to reduce risk of Covid-19 spread

Lancaster City Council is helping businesses improve the air quality in their premises to help reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors were trialled at 10 pubs and restaurants in a bid to help businesses improve ventilation, reducing airborne Covid-19 particles and the risk of transmission.

Due to the pilot’s success, the scheme run by the environmental health team is now being rolled out across the district.

CO2 is released into the air when people breathe. If a person has Covid-19 they will also breathe out droplets of the virus into the air.

The portable devices do not measure levels of coronavirus, but because they detect higher levels of CO2, they alert business owners to act and increase airflow in their premises to minimise the risk of Covid-19 particles, which can linger in the air for several hours and be breathed in by others.

Councillor Dave Brookes, cabinet member with responsibility for environmental health, said: “There has been a fantastic response from businesses who have taken part in the trial, all of whom are doing as much as they can to prevent the spread of the virus and make their premises as safe as possible for customers.

“Wearing masks helps to reduce the spread, but in pubs and restaurants where there is no requirement to wear a face covering, the use of CO2 monitors gives a very good indication whether improved ventilation is needed to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.”

As well as providing the CO2 monitors to businesses for a heavily discounted price of £20, the environmental health team has also been supporting businesses by providing free facemasks and support with the reintroduction of restrictions.

Claire Tomlinson, owner of the John O’Gaunt, was one of the pubs which took part in the pilot.

She said: “It was really interesting to watch and to see when and where the levels shot up.

“Both ends of the premises could be really low levels but sometimes even with a few people stood by the bar because of people passing by it, the levels would shoot up. So it is good to know where we have hotspots.

“Where levels go high, we can intervene and by opening a window or a door for a short while, which brings the levels down again. It’s a good indicator.”

Last updated: 23 December 2021

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