Three weeks ago the Prime Minister lifted restrictions on our movements slightly to allow more people to get back to work and for unlimited outdoors exercise – all whilst observing social distancing of course.
We now know that outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June and all other non-essential retail outlets from 15 June, if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 guidelines to protect workers and shoppers.
On Peterborough Market, traders selling essential items such as food, DIY and hardware goods have been able to continue trading during the lockdown. We now plan to undertake a health and safety audit to ensure the Government’s social distancing measures can be implemented safely, before allowing traders selling non-essential items to return.
We have been planning for the reopening of the city centre for a number of weeks, together with local businesses and business representative groups such as Queensgate, Opportunity Peterborough and Peterborough Positive, so that there is clear guidance for businesses.
New social distancing guidance and signage will begin to be installed in the city soon and people will start to notice that things they touch a lot such as benches, bins and pay and display machines are being cleaned more regularly.
We are also working with businesses to see how areas such as St Peter’s Arcade and the Guildhall can become part a wider café culture in the city – I’ll be able to tell you more about this soon!
Of course, all of this will cost money, so I am pleased the Government has allocated us £181,000 from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund to pay for some of the changes that will be necessary.
We know that COVID-19 has had a harsh impact on businesses in Peterborough and that’s why we are looking at how we can re-open our city centre as soon as we are able to, as safely as possible. We know our city’s economy is strong which means we are in a better position than most to weather the crisis. (more…)