Social distancing signs are being erected around towns in Stafford Borough as part of measures to prepare for the reopening of more businesses next week (Monday 15 June).
The move comes after the Government announced many non-essential retail businesses would be able to open from Monday following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
As well as signs to remind people of social distancing, some narrow streets around Stafford town centre will become ‘one way’ for pedestrians and pavements will be marked for people to queue safely outside various outlets.
Shops selling toys, furniture, books, electronics or clothes in Stafford, Stone and Eccleshall, for example, will be allowed to open their doors to the public for the first time since lockdown began in March - as long as Covid-19 safety measures are in place. The indoor market in Stafford will also be open for business again from Tuesday 16 June.
Stafford Borough Council leader, Patrick Farrington, said this was an important next step to restarting the local economy.
“Our businesses have been extremely responsible during this difficult period – for example we have not had to fine or prosecute owners in our area for breaking lockdown rules unlike other areas of the country - and we want to ensure they are supported in getting their shops back up and running.
“I know this period has been especially tough for many retailers so I am pleased they can begin trading as it is vital that we get this section of our economy moving and restoring people’s livelihoods.
“We have already put together some advice for businesses to prepare for reopening and other measures will be in place to help make sure residents can use our towns and shops safely.”
Businesses will only be able to open if they have completed a risk assessment and have taken the necessary steps to become Covid-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.
Measures that the Government have asked shops to consider include:
- Putting a poster in their window to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures
- Storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor
- Placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as sofas
- Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “We’re working with Stafford Borough Council to help where we can and we’ve been out on the streets to look at potential ‘hot spots’ and ‘pinch points’ where pedestrians and shoppers queuing might come together.
“New arrangements are being considered where needed and it’s up to us all to make this work by following the spirit of social distancing.
“If we’re polite, patient and use common sense we can work together to help our High Street businesses and keep infection rates down.”
For a business pre-opening checklist go to www.staffordbc.gov.uk/environmental-health-advice-for-businesses and information on financial support can be found from www.staffordbc.gov.uk/LADG
The council has already given out more than £23 million to small businesses as part of a government-backed package of grants to help during the pandemic.
Press Release No 5647