Shop Local, Shop Safe

High streets get ready to re-open from 15 June.

"Please shop local, please shop safely". That's the message from Uttlesford District Council as more shops and businesses prepare to re-open from next week.

As part of a phased government approach, non-essential retail can recommence from Monday (15 June) following a lengthy period of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Further businesses such as restaurants, pubs and hairdressers may be able to open from 4 July.

The council has been working closely with local business groups, town and parish councils and other organisations to ensure the district's high streets are able to open in a way that is safe for customers and staff.

Over the next couple of weeks, visitors to the town centres may start to see some physical changes - this is likely to include floor markings and signage on how to shop safely, one-way systems and narrow passageways closed off.

Shops may also have their own measures in place such as a limit on the number of customers allowed in at a time. Contactless payment options will be in place where possible.

People may have to queue outside and will need to accept that they may have to go away and come back another day or time. Shoppers should check before they travel that the outlets they want to visit are open.

Cllr John Lodge, Leader of the council, said: "Everyone has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and local businesses and retailers in particular have been hit hard, so this first step towards recovery is a welcome one. A lot of hard work has gone into making shops and the high streets as safe as possible and there are a number of initiatives in place that should allow everyone to shop with confidence.

"Things will be very different to the way we used to shop and it is up to all of us to remain vigilant. I would urge everyone to follow the guidance that is in place to protect themselves and others, to maintain social distancing and to help stop the spread of the virus.

"By working together and shopping locally and responsibly, we can support our businesses to help them get back on track."

A new webpage is being created and will give shoppers the information they need to shop safely. The page will be kept up to date as plans and advice develops over the coming weeks.

It will also provide resources, along with government guidance, for any businesses requiring additional information and support. This will be updated with further guidance as the government permits additional businesses, venues and amenities to open.

Visit www.uttlesford.gov.uk/shop-local-shop-safe.

People can also follow the council on Facebook and Twitter (search @UttlesfordDC) or by signing up to receive regular e-newsletters - visit www.uttlesford.gov.uk/keepmeposted.

Advice for shoppers 

·       Always maintain social distancing - keep a safe distance apart while queuing and shopping

·       Things will be different - expect queues, be patient

·       Follow the signage, floor markings and advice in shops and around the towns

·       Wash your hands regularly and as soon as you get home

·       Where social distancing is not possible, consider wearing a face covering

·       Check before you travel to make sure outlets you want to visit are open

·       Plan your trip in advance - download the MiPermit app for cashless parking (see www.mipermit.com)

Call for volunteer 'ambassadors'

As part of the package of safety measures, the council is looking for volunteers who would be able to assist shoppers, and promote social distancing and safe shopping in Great Dunmow, Saffron Walden and Stansted. If you think you can help, please send your contact details to volunteer@volunteeruttlesford.org.uk or call 01799 510525/510524.

12 June 2020