Reopening High Streets Safety Fund

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Bira has welcomed a new £50m boost to help local authorities prepare high streets for reopening. High Streets Minister Simon Clarke announced the fund for councils to help their local high streets get safely back to business earlier this week. The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help local authorities in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kick-start economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops.

It will also support a range of practical safety measures including new signs, street markings and temporary barriers. This will help get businesses get ready for when they can begin trading safely, not only in high streets and town and city centres, but also in other public spaces such as beachfronts and promenades.

The boost follows Boris Johnson’s announcement that all non-essential retailers will be able to reopen on June 15.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said; “We are pleased about this as it is an issue we consistently raised with the Government – if shops are re-opening, the high street also has to be ready. Now we would like to see local authorities work with independent retailers to ensure the money is spent well.”

Ready to reopen? Don’t forget your risk assessment

Independent retailers will only be able to open from June 15 if they have completed the required risk assessment, the Government has warned. The risk assessment will need to be completed in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and businesses must be confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

Bira has been consulted as part of the Government’s efforts to put the guidance together. It includes:

Placing a poster in the shop window to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures

Storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back on the shop floor

Placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas

Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self checkouts, trolleys and coffee machines.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: “Bira is pleased with the guidance being given to retail outlets. It provides a broad framework for the basic measures and still allows the retailer to be flexible according to the size, layout and location of the shop. This guidance will ensure that independent retailers provide safe environments for employees and customers.”

Print is by Soodle Street.