»

"Shop-Local" message as Town Centres reopen

Bideford Town Centre Drone

Councillors and Officers from Torridge District Council and Town Councils have been working hard behind the scenes to help facilitate the safe reopening of Town Centres across the District, scheduled to take place on Monday 15th June. Business owners and trade organisations have also been a key part of this process and very keen to stress that they intend to be very much "open for business" from next week.     

All businesses wishing to reopen have been required by central government to risk assess their operations and ensure that social distancing and other safety recommendations are implemented. Only businesses that have completed this process can reopen, providing a level of assurance to shoppers that public safety is being taken very seriously by every high street operator.

The updated guidance takes into account the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers, which were previously allowed to remain open, and successfully applied social distancing measures in their stores. Measures that shops have been required to consider include:

  • placing a poster in their windows 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 beds or sofas
  • frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals, for example

To cement this approach to safety Town Councils have agreed temporary "Keep Left" and "Keep your Distance" policies they are asking people to support and follow. The same signage in all towns will advise people to keep to the left on any pavements or walkways while remaining at a suitable distance from each other, currently advised as 2 metres. Some areas such as the long bridge into Bideford will advise people to keep on the left or right side of a bridge or road depending on whether they are entering or leaving, effectively encouraging one way travel on some sections of pavement. Some parking bays may also be temporarily taken out of use to prevent pinch points and improve the safety of pedestrian corridors.

Councillor Ken James - Leader of Torridge District Council said:

We have been very fortunate in Torridge to have seen only very low levels of infection from the virus and one of our main priorities is to continue to shield our vulnerable residents. But now it's also important that with safeguards in place, we take the next steps towards restoring people's livelihoods, and restarting our economy.

I hope that people will do everything they can to get behind and support local businesses with a "shop-local" approach to their spending. These businesses are vital to our economy and support many local jobs and families and it's important that we help aid their recovery from this very difficult period.

While some of the temporary pedestrian measures may seem unfamiliar at first they are there to make the whole experience as safe as possible and I am hopeful, people will quickly get used to them, while they remain necessary."

09 June 2020