Call to safely support local businesses on Independents Day
Banbury’s MP and District Council amongst those saying the time is right to support local business whilst being careful to contain coronavirus
Many pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will today be opening their doors for the first time in over three months. They join many of Banbury’s other businesses who have already got used to trading in “the new normal” since mid-June.
Today’s re-opening coincides with Independent’s Day – an annual event focussed on encouraging people to visit the wealth of small independent traders in Banbury.
With coronavirus remaining a very real threat inevitably some people are concerned about their welfare. So Cherwell District Council has stepped in to describe the arrangements that have been brought in to ensure visitors’ safety.
Cherwell says that people should stay alert to the new measures that are in place, both within private premises and outdoors. They have implemented a number of changes, including keep left signs and pavement stencils on narrow alleyways, sanitiser stations, and social distancing signage.
Councillor 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.”
Banbury’s MP Victoria Prentis told Banbury FM she understood why people were concerned, but now was the right time to take this step. Mrs Prentis said, “I think it’s right that people are a little bit nervous, but it’s also right that we start to get out and about and take things gently. All the measures are in place in town.
“People shouldn’t be frightened, but they should be a little bit careful”.
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.”
Cherwell District Council says 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 which means that a business can demonstrate that it is adhering to Government and public health guidance.
pic: Cherwell District Council/Facebook
Banbury FM spoke to our MP Victoria Prentis for her views on heading back into town: