Safety first as Rochford District Council prepares for shops to reopen

A new ‘We Are Back’ campaign has been launched in the Rochford district to welcome shoppers back to town centres from Monday June 15 when the government eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Rochford District Council has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund for this project, and has been working in partnership with parishes and Rayleigh Town Council, local business representatives and the three chambers of trade to understand the needs of businesses and residents.

The aim is to spread the word that town centres will be open for business again, and that shoppers can visit in a way that maintains social distancing.

To achieve this, the council will be installing a range of safety measures and notices across Rayleigh, Rochford and Hockley Town Centres, allowing people to circulate safely.

This week, the authority is providing retailers with information packs to help them to prepare to reopen safely. This will include:

  • An information leaflet, introducing ‘We Are Back’, summarising Government guidance on ‘COVID-Secure’ reopening and highlighting resources and webinars available to support retailers as they reopen.
  • A ‘COVID-Secure’ risk assessment poster, allowing businesses to self-certify that they have taken all necessary steps to maintain safe hygiene and social distancing practices in accordance with Government guidance.
  • A ‘COVID-Secure’ window poster, requesting a limit on the number of customers in the premises at any time, allowing customers to shop with confidence.
  • We Are Back’ window stickers, helping spread the word that the district’s centres and shops are open for business in a safe and responsible way.

A new website will be launched at which will be updated in the coming days to give shoppers all the information they need to know about how to circulate safely. It will also provide the resources listed above for download, along with Government guidance.

If you are a retailer or shop owner and are happy to share your story and any pictures of your preparations, please use the hashtag #WeAreBack and tag in the council’s social media channels – Twitter @RochfordDC, Facebook: Rochford District Council, Instagram @RochfordDC.

Alternatively you can contact the Economic Development Team on: [email protected] or @business_rdc.

Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Enterprise, Cllr Simon Wootton, said: “We are all too aware of the tough times many local traders have experienced in recent months as a result of the COVID-19 situation.

“We hope the ‘We Are Back’ initiative sends a message to shoppers and visitors that our excellent town centres and independent retailers are very much open for business, and that we are ensuring safety measures are in place to allow everyone to shop with confidence.

“In the weeks to come, I would urge everyone to think about shopping local, and support our businesses as they get back on their feet.”

For further information, please visit

Advice to shoppers:

  • Do not travel to the high street if you have any COVID symptoms
  • Maintain a 2 metre distance from those outside your household
  • Follow signs and instructions provided on the street and in stores wherever possible
  • Practice safe queuing by not joining queues where it would block the footway
  • Avoid touching stock you do not intend to buy
  • Use digital means of payment where available
  • Wear a face covering if using public transport
  • Consider bringing your own face coverings and hand gel with you to the high street
  • If you are intending to use Rochford District Council run car parks, download the ‘Pay by Phone’ app on your phone in advance

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]