As many shops and businesses look to reopen from Monday (12 April), now is the perfect time to stay safe and shop local by helping to support all the great businesses in our local towns, villages and community precincts.
With lots of great independent stores, mixed in with national names, these local centres offer the perfect environment for people to start getting out again, and Wokingham Borough Council is working closely with businesses to ensure visitors keep themselves and others safe. This includes following all the latest guidance, as well as adhering to the hands, face and space mantra.
“Our local businesses have put a huge amount of work into making sure they can keep their staff and customers safe and I’d really encourage local people to support them over the coming months.” Said Bernie Pich, assistant director for commercial property. “It’s been incredibly tough for them over the past year and now is the time to show them just how much they are valued, and help them to survive and thrive. It’s especially important for our local independent stores who simply don’t have the same infrastructure as larger businesses for factors such as internet sales or deliveries.
“But there are also lots of positive stories coming out of the last year, with all of our main centres in Twyford, Woodley and Wokingham seeing new businesses open despite the impact of Covid-19. We’re also noticing new market traders showing a real interest in our local markets at Wokingham and Woodley, meaning there’s something for everyone and lots of new sellers to visit when you do come in.
“A great example of this is the new Peacock Homes Interiors shop at Elms Field, which is opening its doors for the first time on Monday. It’s an amazing new independent interiors store and is set to become a real draw for the town, reflecting the owner’s great eye for interior design and accessorising your homes. I’d encourage people to come see for themselves as well as checking out some of the other great new businesses which have opened in Elms Walk and across the borough.”
In order to help shoppers stay safe, the council has installed updated signage across the centres, as well as making new posters for businesses, and signposting them towards the latest guidance they need to follow. Covid Support Officers will also be out at busy times to offer advice and promote best practice.
Bernie Pich continued: “Whilst we know some of our residents can’t wait for Monday and are really looking forward to coming back to shop, we also know some of you are bit more apprehensive and unsure about returning. So, we’d like to reassure you that our town and village centres are safe places to visit. Restrictions reflect those in place last summer and our residents did an amazing job then of following the guidance which we are sure they will do again.
“Businesses are all set to reopen safely with hand sanitiser, screens and masks in place, as well as capacity limits on the number of people who can be in a shop at one time to make sure people can adhere to social distancing. We’d also encourage people to think about visiting the town at quieter times such as weekdays, mornings or afternoons, and making sure they give others space.
“Finally, it’s important that we are kind and patient with each other as our businesses reopen and more people come back; especially with the staff and workers in the businesses who have done a fantastic job throughout the past year and who deserve our respect and support.”
The latest guidance on Covid-19 and businesses reopening can be found on Gov.uk
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