Support Local Businesses - Back our campaign as shops prepare to reopen
By Rob Freeman | 12th June 2020
Shops across Gloucestershire will be opening their doors for the first time in almost three months on Monday as government coronavirus restrictions continue to be lifted.
It is an uncertain time for many retailers as they head back to work - and we want to help them.
Punchline-Gloucester.com is launching our Support Local Businesses campaign to highlight innovative ideas to get them back on their feet and the help that is at hand as traders turn the shop signs to open once again.
Punchline editor Mark Owen said: "It is great to see so many small businesses reopening and we look forward to seeing many more follow suit in the coming weeks.
"Times are hard for everyone, but now is the time to be there for each other and support local businesses.
"Spend your money with them and it supports any number of other local businesses in their supply chain.
"We have all missed them while they have been shut - we will miss them even more if they disappear for good.
"Let's not wait until they are gone before realising how important they are."
Shoppers returning to the high street will notice a few changes with social distancing and safety measures in place.
Punchline reported yesterday how Gloucester City Council has placed signs and stickers across the city centre and other councils are introducing their own measures to keep shoppers and workers safe.
The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund has seen £50million shared between councils around England to support town and city centres as they reopen.
Signs will also be in place across Cheltenham while the pavement on North Street has been widened to help with pedestrian movement and social distancing if queuing is necessary outside shops.
Regent Arcade car park will reopen from 7am on Monday with reduced capacity to help with social distancing while contactless payments are being encouraged at pay stations.
The town centre will also see increased cleaning with Cheltenham Borough Council staff on hand to help members of the public alongside ambassadors from Cheltenham BID and police.
Cheltenham Borough Council leader Councillor Steve Jordan said: "The reopening of our retail and high street marks a significant milestone towards Cheltenham's economic recovery. It's vital that we make sure this is done as safely as possible."
A Cheltenham - We're Open marketing campaign will be launched on Monday to encourage locals and visitors into the town centre.
Cheltenham BID director Kevan Blackadder said: "It's crucially important that when people return in greater numbers to our town centre, they feel safe in doing so.
"That has been at the forefront of everything we have done in preparation.
"I know many people are desperate to be able to return to their favourite Cheltenham stores and we are really looking forward to welcoming them again."
Like the rest of the county's authorities, Forest of Dean District Council has been working with retailers and independent shops to attract people back with signs and safety measures in place.
Councillor Bernie O'Neill, cabinet member for economy, said: "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 businesses."
The council is providing posters and floor markers to businesses which have walk-in customers.
Mr O'Neill said: "We will continue to work with partners to help businesses to access a wide range of support."
Councils can access training, advice and information from The High Streets Task Force which has been created to focus on the transformation and reimagining of tow and city centres.
Newly appointed chairman Mark Robinson said: "No-one underestimates the challenges to our town centres, but this long-term initiative, running until 2024, shows the Government's commitment to our towns and the transformation required.
"The Task Force has already provided invaluable advice to town centre stakeholders in the current crisis and we will continue to build capacity, promoting best practise, led by research and evidence by data.
"It will provide a rallying point for all the people who care about our high streets and advocate the change that is needed."
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