Business News

Andover’s getting ready for the big unlock

Andover BID Business as usual coronavirus

Andover’s town centre businesses are getting ready for a phased re-opening of their stores – from 15th June.

Following government guidance, non-essential retailers along with other businesses are busy carrying out COVID-19 Risk Assessments and obtaining appropriate social distancing signage.

Andover BID has partnered with local Andover company Saxon Safety to offer this vital service in town to its businesses.

Steve Godwin, Andover BID Manager says, “We are delighted to be working with a local company Saxon Safety who are experts in their field and at this critical time for the high street sits which sits at the heart of every community in the country.

Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England are set to reopen next month once they are COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Sunday when he set out that:

  • Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it is generally easier to apply social distancing.
  • All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.
  • Shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies have been trading responsibly throughout the pandemic. Reopening non-essential retail is the next step towards restoring people’s livelihoods, restarting the UK’s economy, and ensuring vital public services like the NHS continue to be funded
  • Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment and are 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.

The updated guidance considers the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers which have been allowed to remain open and have applied social distancing measures in store.

Measures that shops should consider include placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures, storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor, placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas, and frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines for example.

Hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons and the hospitality sector remain closed because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher. However, it is anticipated they will open as the next stage of lockdown is lifted.

Steve Godwin continues, “We are fortunate in Andover to have large areas of pedestrianization and plenty of space. Enabling these businesses to open will be a critical step on the road to rebuilding our economy and will support millions of jobs locally and across the UK.

“The Government guidance sets out a vital framework to get shops open in a way that is safe for everyone. It explains how retail workers who are not currently working can go back to work as safely as possible and feel confident in their workplace. And it reassures customers that shops are properly assessing the risks and putting in place measures to protect them.

“Andover BID has been at the forefront by partnering with a local company to ensure that this worry can be taken away from businesses at a time when they are anxious and have many other issues to think about”.

Carl Sievewright from Saxon Safety is confident that Andover is going to be ready to allow businesses to open safely. He says, “The BID service enables a business to make one contact and to leave the rest to us. This includes a survey and detailed risk assessment to comply with Government guidelines as well as being able to provide safety equipment, and social distancing products such as signage and floor stickers.

“We are pleased to be working with the BID and businesses in enabling the re-opening of the town centre again”.

About the author

David Harber

David Harber is the founder and Managing Director of Love Andover, including the Love Andover Observer newspaper and 95.9FM Andover Radio. He is a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and a card carrying member of the Nation Union of Journalists.