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Council plans for the safe reopening of High Streets

Forest of Dean District Council is working alongside retailers and small independent shops across the District to safely reopen and welcome local people back into town centres, with customer safety paramount.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this month regarding plans to restart the economy and ease lockdown restrictions over a planned period, Forest of Dean District Council is working with retailers and market traders to assist wherever possible with the phased re-opening of shops and stalls in our town centres.

Cllr Bernie O’Neill, Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “We are taking a proactive safety-first approach to reopen town centres. Our goal is to help our district to recover as quickly as possible and we are committed to supporting businesses through the current situation and beyond. We want to encourage all our residents to shop locally and support Forest of Dean based businesses.

“As lockdown restrictions begin to ease we will be providing them with the tools and guidance they need to reopen with confidence and become more resilient.

“We have provided a checklist for local businesses, including retailers, on how to work safely during the coronavirus outbreak and how to maintain social distancing, to keep both employees and customers safe.  

“We are also producing posters and social distance floor markers to provide practical assistance for town centre businesses who have walk-in customers. These will be delivered to businesses in the coming weeks and any business that does not receive one can request a pack by emailing regeneration@fdean.gov.uk or calling us.”

Your Council is also looking at the high street environment to identify pinch points for pedestrians and any practical temporary changes that could be made to make shopping a safe and pleasant experience whilst social distancing remains in place. These will be announced in due course.

Cllr O’Neill, added: “We will continue to work with partners to help businesses to access a wide range of support. I’m delighted to add that we have launched our new round of business grants this week and are inviting businesses to apply online at https://www.fdean.gov.uk/business-and-licensing/.”

The council will continue to assess how the Government’s release of lockdown will impact on local business over the coming weeks and months and offer advice and guidance to support a safe and successful reopening of the business community.

Protecting the livelihoods of those who live, work and shop in the Forest of Dean is the Council’s number one priority. Over the next couple of weeks, people visiting the town centres and villages will start to see a number of physical changes. 

Signage will be visible around the businesses to advise shoppers where to pause outside individual shops, and where restrictions may be enforced, such as limiting the number of people who can enter premises at the same time. Hand sanitiser stations will be provided as well as other safety measures. Parking charges will resume from Monday 15th of June, with exception to permit holding NHS staff and Care Workers.

In order to control the spread of infection, it is vital for businesses that can open to follow strict social distancing and hygiene measures.

Advice on the rules that apply is available on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

For Government’s guidance on which business can and cannot open: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close 

Sector-specific guidance on providing a safe place to work and social distancing.:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19  

Contact Information

Forest of Dean Communications Team

media@fdean.gov.uk