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Council held series of Zoom meetings with high street retailers ahead of shops opening this week

15th June 2020
Posted by Johnny Jenkins

When the Government announced at the end of May that all non-essential shops were permitted to re-open from Monday 15 June, the council was mindful that there would be challenges in the further re-opening of our High Streets.

Ahead of putting in place any plans, the council was keen to engage with as many of our high street and town centre retailers early on, to hear directly what would be the main challenges for their business and how the council could support them.

Over the last few weeks, a series of Zoom meetings have taken place involving around 40 retailers from across Basildon town Centre, Billericay and Wickford High Streets.

Last week, the virtual meetings focused on Billericay and Wickford High Streets to consult with retailers on the proposed measures to be put in place in order to reopen our High Streets in the safest possible way with the opportunity for them to ask any questions. Discussions were around vehicle access and movements, proposed pedestrian flows, social distancing measures, signage, queue management, plus the available support and guidance for retail businesses.

The Leader of Basildon Council, Gavin Callaghan said:

“As we prepared to return our High Streets to a new way of working, whilst working to recover our towns over the months ahead – it was essential we worked collaboratively with retailers and partners.

“We want shoppers to feel safe and be safe and retailers to feel prepared and supported as shopping areas get busier than they have been since the lockdown started.

“That is why our regular Zoom meetings with retailers have been a key priority and will continue to be in the coming weeks. I would like to thank all the retailers that have been part of them for their honesty in relation to concerns and their support on the proposed plans.

“The first step for our economy is our Shop Local Shop Safe campaign to support local retailers to reopen safely and shoppers to feel safe when using our shopping areas. As part of this, we introduced street marshals from Monday to help shoppers navigate changes in pedestrian flow and queuing.”

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