Following the easing of restrictions on retail stores, East Suffolk Council has been playing a key role in ensuring the district’s grand ‘re-opening’ is as smooth as possible.
Since the Government announced that non-essential shops could reopen on Monday 15 June, East Suffolk Council has been busy helping businesses prepare and have been working with them to offer support, advice, and guidance on how to ensure a safe reopening for both staff and customers.
This has included providing businesses with the support and resources needed to ensure they have taken the necessary steps to reopen safely, including carrying out the relevant risk assessments and putting in place social distancing measures.
As part of this, the Council has also contacted businesses directly to provide free posters which can be displayed at store entrances to highlight the safety measures in place, such as the number of people allowed in the store at any one time and social distancing guidance.
Other work includes considering a range of temporary measures, including localised road closures.
The Council is receiving requests from towns to approve temporary road closures to enable a better flow of the high street, and such schemes have already been approved in Beccles, Woodbridge, and Felixstowe with more currently being reviewed.
The Council’s Finance and IT teams continue to work quickly to validate, process, and pay business grants to eligible businesses. So far, almost £60 million has been paid out to 5,223 businesses in East Suffolk through the Government’s Small Business Grant Fund, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund and the Discretionary Business Grant Fund.
Alongside this, additional financial support has also been made available through the East Suffolk Business Association Development Fund which has been adapted to support businesses responding to the Covid-19 outbreak. For example, Framlingham Market, which has continued to deliver much-needed services to residents throughout the lockdown, has been able to install public hand sanitisers after Framlingham’s Covid-19 Response team received a grant of £1,700 through the scheme.
Furthermore, East Suffolk Council has received Government funding of £222,000 to support the reopening of our high streets, and are currently working closely with town councils to identify areas where this money will benefit our high streets the most in line with the funding criteria.
Cllr Craig Rivett, East Suffolk’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “We are excited about the reopening of our high streets and know how important this is to our local shops. We want to reassure shoppers that everyone has put a lot of effort into ensuring that all measures have been taken to keep them safe while they shop.
“We all have a role to play in limiting the spread of coronavirus as more shops open, and we ask that everyone remain kind and patient as our high streets adapt to this new normal. As always, it remains of uttermost importance that everyone continues to practice social distancing, staying at least 2 metres apart from anyone outside of their own household.
“East Suffolk Council is committed to our businesses, and we will continue to work closely with shops and other local businesses to support the progress of the district’s economic recovery in the months ahead.”