Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England, including many in Uckfield high street, are set to reopen on in mid-June once they are COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe.
At the same time, a new Reopening High Streets Safely Fund was announced by High Streets Minister Simon Clarke to help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to get people back to work and customers back to the shops; this fund will be managed locally by Wealden District Council and they’ve been allocated £143.3k for the district from the total fund for England.
From June 1st 2020, the government intends to allow outdoor markets and car showrooms to reopen, subject to all premises being made COVID-secure.
From June 15th 2020, the government intends to allow opening by a list of further retailers, ranging from shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, if the government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines.
Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.
Other businesses, including hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, as well as the hospitality sector, will remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.
Updated guidance for the retail sector was published alongside this announcement, detailing the measures retailers should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards. You can find the guidance HERE.
You can also join a free webinar, hosted by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to find out more about how to make your retail workplace COVID-secure.
• Thursday 28 May, 11am: Shops and branches – Guidance for people who run shops, branches, stores or similar environments – click HERE.
The funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is intended to help adapt urban centres and green spaces for social distancing during the pandemic. The money will be allocated to councils on a per capita basis and will be ready to spend from 1 June 2020.
Finally, please take part in the SELEP Coronavirus Business Recovery Survey to let the government know how you are preparing your business for the next phase in socially distanced and COVID-secure enterprise. Click HERE to complete the short survey.