We Meet Again
w/c 22nd March 2021
As of Monday we will now be allowed to meet outdoors as two households or when following the ‘rule of six’. This is a fantastic step for everyone’s mental health especially for us in Southend as, apart from two weeks in December, we have essentially been under lockdown restrictions since the start of November – an incredibly long time to be apart from the friends and family we love.
The Government are allowing this change as it is much less likely to catch and pass on the virus in an outdoor setting than it is indoors. It is however still possible and so we must all remember that it is still incredibly important to continue to keep our distance from those that we do not live with.
There will be no new business sectors reopening at this stage; the plan is for many to reopen from the 12th April so you can switch your coffee in the park for a beer in a pub garden in no time, but only if the virus is kept under control.
Businesses from shops and restaurants to hairdressers and gyms are currently preparing with that date in mind; reviewing risk assessments, awaiting new guidance announcements, liaising with staff and checking existing safety measures. At Southend BID we have been leading on the development of new safety signage in the town which will utilise the new Visit Southend branding and have a range of new “queue here” floor stickers available for businesses to help manage their customers.
These are lots of challenges that businesses are currently facing on the lead up to reopening including product availability from suppliers, affordability of operating hours with these restrictions, viability of continuing a delivery service in tandem with reopening, staff training, and pavement licenses for seating areas.
The council are allowing hospitality venues to use a pavement area outside of their premises between the 12th April and 17th May without a license application but terms do apply. Contact ‘licact2003@Southend.Gov.Uk’ should you need guidance on this. BID businesses can email us if they have any additional queries, would like some queuing stickers or need any other support at this time.