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High Streets to reopen on 12 April

On Monday, 12 April, high streets in Cheshire West and Chester can reopen.

Shops, hairdressers, barbers, and gyms will all be open again for business.

Pubs, restaurants, cafés and bars can all serve customers too, but for outdoor service only.

All businesses will be required to have strict controls in place to ensure that they operate and trade in line with national guidance in order to ensure staff and customer safety and control the spread of COVID-19.

The easing of restrictions represents Step 2 in the national COVID-19 roadmap out of lockdown.

The Council is welcoming the reopening but urging caution and care.

High Street Information Officers have been working closely with businesses to support the reopening and will be visible in town and city centres from 12 April to ensure that they are safe for visitors to enjoy.

In preparation, The Big Spring Clean has been underway to ensure that high streets are clean and tidy ready for reopening. Extensive cleaning operations have taken place across the borough and  the Council has been working with partners and businesses in all town centres, including the BIDs in Chester and Northwich, to ensure high streets are ready to open.

The Council has sent its eco-friendly electric street-cleansing machines out across the borough. The vehicles spray high pressure water through a bar at the front and include a high-pressure hand lance for washing down street furniture and bins. The street cleaning teams have undertaken additional deep cleansing to remove chewing gum and staining from the high street pavements.

Webinars organised by the Council have also taken place to help businesses prepare for reopening.

Among the topics covered for hospitality, personal care and beauty businesses were the rules on face coverings, collection of customer contact details, the rule of six (or two households), social distancing, outdoor structures, hygiene and outbreak prevention and management.

Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health, said: “It is good that our high streets are able to reopen and return to some degree of normality and, while I would urge residents to support local business, I would also remind everyone that COVID-19 is still present.

“Infection rates have come down through the vaccine programme but mainly through everyone’s immense efforts in sticking with the challenges of a lockdown.

“Please support our local businesses in the borough - going shopping, getting a haircut and having a meal – but do remember hands, face, space and fresh air wherever you go.”

Maria Byrne, Director of Environment and Communities, said : “Our high street businesses  are ready to welcome people back and the last thing we want is any return of restrictions. By following the safety guidelines still in place we can all make sure there is a gradual return to how things were before the pandemic.

“Plan your journey ahead. Make sure that you have a supply of hand sanitiser and your mask, consider using public transport or, if visiting Chester, take advantage of our park and ride scheme.”

For more information about the latest restrictions and the roadmap visit: www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

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