Wolverhampton is gearing up for the reopening of non-essential shops and personal care premises - such as hairdressers and nail salons - from Monday (April 12).
They are receiving support along with city hospitality venues, who will be able to provide outdoor service only from next week.
The Government has given the green light for all this to happen across the country under strict coronavirus social distancing guidelines, track and trace measures, and the rule of six or two households meeting in outdoor areas.
City of Wolverhampton Council is working with city partners, including the Wolverhampton Business Improvement District (BID), Bilston BID and Police to assist retailers across five key shopping areas: city centre, Bilston, Wednesfield, Tettenhall and Dudley Road – and advise licensed premises on operating safely and any plans they have to extend or request outdoor seating areas.
A central one-way walking route remains in place in the city centre’s shopping core of Dudley Street, with shoppers encouraged to keep left and stay apart.
New street signage will also provide guidance for visitors across all five of the key shopping areas.
Stewards, Covid Support Advisors and BID ambassadors will be in place in the city centre to assist shop owners and visitors, and the Council’s licensing, environmental health and trading standards team are supporting businesses across Wolverhampton as they gradually begin reopening from Monday and over the coming weeks.
Businesses should check www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/business-support for all the latest guidance and support available to them regarding reopening. This web page also includes access to a range of posters produced by the Council for businesses to download and print to inform customers as the city begins to reopen.
Regular cleansing will be carried out by the Council’s street cleaning team.
The Council’s public toilets in the city centre (Victoria Street and Market), Bilston, Wednesfield, Tettenhall Park and West Park are all open. For details and opening times please check www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/community/council-run-public-toilets-wolverhampton
All measures will be monitored, and additional measures or alterations will be made where required (some activities will be funded by the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund from the Cities and Local Growth Unit (CLGU) grant provided by the European Regional Development Fund).
Motorists, when using RingGo cashless parking, can enjoy a 50 per cent discount on parking costs at City of Wolverhampton Council’s city centre car parks from Monday, April 12, and 25 per cent discount from Monday, May 17. Find out how RingGo cashless parking works at https://www.myringgo.co.uk/howitworks The parking discounts end on June 21, 2021, and exclude the Civic Centre car park.
Bus passengers across the city are advised to visit www.wmnetwork.co.uk to see the locations of bus stops.
City of Wolverhampton Council Director for City Environment, Ross Cook, said:
A lot of hard work and planning by the Council and its partners is going into making the reopening of Wolverhampton as safe and smooth as possible for shops and visitors.
The most important thing is that businesses and visitors to these areas stick firmly to the Government’s guidance on wearing face coverings, social distancing, hygiene and testing.
We’re doing all we can to support businesses as they reopen after being closed for so long and would encourage Wolverhampton residents to support their local shops.
Wolverhampton BID Director, Cherry Shine, added:
We are excited and eager to see our shops, salons, hairdressers and our pubs and cafes with outside space reopening. Our retailers and business community have been working incredibly hard to ensure that we welcome shoppers and visitors back safely. It remains vitally important that we all follow Covid safe measures such as social distancing, but it is now possible that we can again enjoy shopping, getting our fitness back on track at the gym or having a meal whilst supporting our much-missed city centre businesses. They are the heart of our local economy and we urge people to shop local to support our local businesses.
Bilston Business Improvement District Manager, Simon Archer, said:
The past few months have stretched many businesses financially and mentally, so the relaxation of lockdown measures is very welcome news. We have been helping many with advice on grants to keep them afloat, but there's nothing like seeing customers returning to get those tills ringing. However, we still all need to follow guidelines, which means wearing face coverings, staying a safe distance from other shoppers and getting tested regularly to avoid another wave of infection.
Wolverhampton Police Superintendent, Simon Inglis, said:
We recognise the importance of this next step in the Government’s roadmap and the benefit it can bring to the health of both the economy and of the residents of Wolverhampton. As always, we fully support the local authority and public health teams who have put clear messaging and guidance in place to ensure the public can visit shops and hospitality venues safely. Our ask is that people clearly follow that guidance and follow the instructions in order to enjoy the further freedoms.