What to look out for as lockdown eases on our high streets

Everyone has a part to play in supporting local business and containing the virus as lockdown easing continues, Cherwell District Council says.

Published: Friday, 3rd July 2020

From Saturday 4 July, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers are able to reopen, as long as they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines. It follows the reopening of non-essential shops on 15 June.

People using the urban centres should stay alert to the new measures that are in place, both within private premises and outdoors. Cherwell is undertaking a number of changes, including keep left signs and pavement stencils on narrow alleyways, sanitiser stations, and social distancing signage.

Cllr Lynn Pratt, lead member for economy, said: “The easing of lockdown on Saturday means we can go to the pub, have a meal out and get a professional haircut. This comes as a great relief after the months of lockdown and it will come as a lifeline to many local businesses.

“But these new freedoms come with the responsibility that we all bear for following social distancing and hygiene measures. Those of us who have not visited the busier areas of the district for a while will notice some changes, both indoors and out.

“All the shops, restaurants, pubs and cafés will have needed to have put a lot of thought and effort into how they make reopening safe for their staff and for us, their customers. We have done the same too in public spaces. It’s vital that we all respect and follow these new measures, and if we do, we can feel reassured that the recovery of our economy can continue uninterrupted.”

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s director for public health, said: “Every single one of us is responsible for preventing local outbreaks and keeping Oxfordshire safe. Our safety is literally in our own hands. All of that good, simple advice that we’ve been given since March still applies – wash your hands regularly, keep your distance, avoid busy gatherings and stay alert.

“Lockdown may be easing but the advice is clear – don’t go easy on the virus. If any of us as individuals do go easy on the virus it will not go easy on us in return.”

The Government is encouraging people to walk or cycle to the shops to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. People should also look out for some changes to road layouts and to be especially mindful of social distancing at bus stops, bus stations, markets and in car parks.

Shops and hospitality venues will be displaying posters in their entrances confirming that they have read and implemented Government’s “Five Steps to Safer Working Together” guidance.

Many venues will also be carrying VisitEngland’s “We’re Good To Go” signage for UK tourism. It means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to Government and public health guidance. The free scheme is open to join for all businesses across the tourism industry.

A business checklist and links to relevant health and safety and food safety advice are available here.