Shop local, shop safely

Councils across Hertfordshire are helping residents to support local businesses in a safe way when non-essential shops reopen on Monday (15 June).

Welcome back

Throughout the last few weeks, we have been working to put in place measures such as closing roads off to traffic, removing parking allocation or narrowing roads, to provide more space for pedestrians and make sure safe social distancing is possible and residents can move around their towns in a way that meets guidance from Central Government.

These Public Health-led changes, which have been made at 14 sites in 12 towns across the county, are designed to support residents, businesses and families in remaining safe. We've received lots of feedback on these safety measures, which we're taking on board and responding to.

Hertfordshire County Council has also identified nine other locations where measures to support social distancing may be needed, and these will be monitored closely when non-essential shops open next week and pubs and restaurants over the next month.

To help people understand the changes, we have created a range of new signage to encourage everyone to look after themselves and others as they return to town centres and other key shopping locations. We've also helped to create a toolkit of guidance for shops to make their premises as safe as they possibly can, including a 'Five Steps to Working Safely' strategy.

We have been working closely with businesses on the best way to implement these measures, which include stepping up cleaning and hygiene procedures and the best ways to encourage people to follow the social distancing guidelines.

Leader of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Tony Kingsbury, said:

As the government begins to lift lockdown measures and businesses reopen we want to encourage residents to shop local and support our town centres. Following the measures put in place and keeping to the social distancing guidelines will ensure it is safe for everyone to do so. I am incredibly proud of the way the Welwyn Hatfield residents and businesses have responded during the coronavirus pandemic, often finding innovative ways to support each other. It is vital that we carry on looking out for each other as restrictions ease, so I'd like to thank everyone for their continued patience and cooperation.

Linda Haysey, Leader of East Herts Council and Chair of the Community Reassurance Cell of the Local Resilience Forum, said:

Our shops and local businesses have had to face some particularly challenging circumstances over the last few months but, as our town centres start to open up again, we want to encourage people to return safely and shop local. By creating spaces across Hertfordshire's town centres and high streets that allow for social distancing and make residents, workers and shoppers feel safe, we hope to generate greater footfall for our traders and boost the local economy.

For more information, please go to www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/coronavirus while there are full details about changes to town centres on our website. If you have been affected by the changes and would like to share your feedback, you can do so using this form.