Express & Star

Bridgnorth 'safe and open for business' as traders look to end lockdown woes

Bridgnorth is "safe and open for business – and now's the time to kick-start the local economy."

New arrangements on Saturdays in Bridgnorth High Street

That’s the message from traders and business experts who have had their say on welcoming back shoppers to the market town this week.

Businesses, along with support from both Shropshire and Bridgnorth councils, have worked to put Covid-19 measures in place to keep all those who visit, work and live in Bridgnorth safe.

Now, after a challenging few months, traders are encouraging people to show their support at a time when it is needed the most.

Cara Hickman, manager at Urban Angel on High Street, said: “We have been so excited to welcome back our lovely customers. Bridgnorth is a great community and with all our lovely independent stores reopening, it is a fabulous addition to all the essentials which have kept our little town ticking over nicely.

“We have put Covid-19-secure measures in place to keep everyone safe. We have hand sanitizer available and we even have single-use face masks available in case anyone forgets.

“We can promise people safe service with a smile.”

Additional social distancing measures will be in place at Bridgnorth High Street to help Bridgnorth Market open and ensure that people can safely visit the town.

Pedestrianised one-way measures and signage will be improved to help people shop in a safe and socially-distanced manner.

Saturday High Street market stallholders must set up two metres back from the kerb to provide additional space for customers to shop safely at the front of the stalls, access shops more easily and ensure safe passage along the pavements.

Council officers will also be on hand to explain the measures to the public and assist the market traders to trade safely.

Information and advisory posters have been provided to businesses in the town centre, to the High Street market stallholders and the organiser of the private market for onward distribution, as well as to local caravan and camping sites to help them let the public understand what to expect in Bridgnorth and to promote positive behaviours to reduce the transmission of Covid.

Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce is also continuing its initiative to supply shops with free face masks for customers.

Steve Robbins, chamber chairman, said traders had made the town "as safe as it can be" and encouraged residents to "have faith" in their local businesses.

Lee Jakeman, clerk to Bridgnorth Town Council, added: “This has been a challenging time for our community, but I would like to express my sincere gratitude for their continued co-operation.

“During the Lockdown many of us turned to local providers who stepped into the breach to provide home deliveries. Businesses have also worked extremely hard to keep customers safe by putting Covid-19-secure measures in place.

“By supporting the measures to increase space for social distancing, we hope we are doing our bit to help the town’s traders take full advantage of this critical trading period at the same time as keeping the public safe.

“I want to encourage everyone, wherever possible, to spend their hard-earned money with our wonderful local businesses.”

Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s head of trading standards and licensing, said: “Ensuring everyone can both shop and trade safely is our top priority.

“We’ve carefully considered which measures should be introduced to ensure the safety of shoppers, residents and traders.

“Making sure people’s health is protected as we get our economy back on its feet is a difficult balancing act, but we believe these measures will go some way to helping local traders, whilst still keeping people safe.

“We will be carefully monitoring the impact of these measures to see if any additional action will be necessary.”

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