Shop local, shop safe as retail returns to Southend

A shop local, shop safe campaign has been launched ahead of the wider reopening of shops on Monday June 15.

Over recent weeks Southend Business Improvement District (BID), councillors and officers from Southend Council, Leigh Town Council, the seafront traders association, Essex Chambers of Commerce and other local businesses have been working together to deal with the Government’s relaxation of lockdown measures and ensure that the borough is a safe place to visit and shop.

The group is working hard to help the local economy bounce back and help businesses to reopen safely.

Businesses have been provided with signage, poster templates and guidance, and hundreds of public signs are also being put up in shopping areas across the borough.

In central Southend, welcome hosts and sanitisation stations will be available for shoppers and people will be encouraged to keep left.

In Leigh-on-Sea, there will be a small number of parking bays suspended in Broadway West outside the bakers, butchers and greengrocers, on Elm Road outside the fishmongers and fish and chip shop and on Rectory Grove outside the bakers and health food shop.

These have been identified as potential ‘pinch points’ for queues and this will create more space for people to safely queue.

Other areas will be monitored carefully and any necessary measures to help keep people safe will be brought in if necessary.

Shoppers are also being asked to ‘stay safe, stay apart’, and respect measures and staff in place working to keep people safe. The group is also asking people to shop local and to expect a different shopping experience for the time being.

Cllr Martin Terry, the council’s cabinet member for community safety and chair of the relaxation measures stakeholder group, said: “As shops reopen it is important that local people take responsibility to stay safe and stay apart from people they don’t live with. Please do your bit both to stop the spread of coronavirus and to support your local businesses.”

Denise Rossiter, chief executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “Our collective message is to shop local and shop safe. As a group we have worked really hard together to get plans in place across the borough as the Government has eased its lockdown measures. We will continue to review plans regularly and I just urge people to visit and support your local businesses. They need it more than ever.”

Cllr Kevin Robinson, the council’s cabinet member for business, leisure and tourism, said: “The group has been working very hard to help our local economy bounce back and I want to thank everyone for their efforts. With wider reopening next week, this is the ideal time to encourage people to shop local and shop safe.”

Suzanne Gloyne, Southend BID manager, said: “We are pleased to say we are back open and we are pleased to welcome shoppers back to the Borough. We want people to shop local and we have worked collectively so that shoppers can be confident of a safe environment. We also ask everyone to do their bit too by keeping your distance, not blocking pavements and respecting the staff and new measures that are there to keep you safe.”

A guide for businesses that has been put together to help guide them through reopening is available at: https://www.southendbid.com/retailrecovery

Posters, templates and signage is available for businesses to download at: https://www.southendbid.com/businesstemplates

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]