From Saturday 4 July, many more businesses in Thanet, including bars, restaurants, amusement arcades and hair salons will be able to reopen. The aim is for them to do so safely and for their customers to feel confident that this is the case.
Thanet District Council has been working with businesses in these sectors to ensure they are putting measures in place to maintain social distancing and keep customers and staff safe. Our local businesses have demonstrated innovation, passion and commitment in their approach to welcoming customers back, devising queuing systems, changes to payment processes, introducing table service and new booking mechanisms. Things may look slightly different as a result and we urge people to be patient as we all adjust to new ways of doing things and to follow the advice being given. It is important that everyone adheres to the guidance on how many people and how many households can meet at once.
More people are expected to be out and about in our town centres from this weekend which will require greater awareness and respect for social distancing. To support this, the council has introduced some practical measures to help people navigate our public spaces while maintaining the recommended distances. This includes additional signage in our main shopping areas to promote social distancing and encourage pedestrians to keep to the left wherever possible to ease flow, and we continue to highlight the importance of good hand washing and hygiene.
Over the coming weeks, in order to facilitate social distancing in busier areas where pavement space is limited, there will also be temporary changes to traffic management and pedestrian access to the streets around Margate Old Town, Marine Drive, Margate and Harbour Parade, Ramsgate. This will start with the temporary pedestrianisation of The Parade service road in Margate as of this Saturday, 4 July.
Further details of the schemes will be announced shortly and individual businesses in the area are being contacted directly. These plans are part of the Reopening High Streets Safely (RHSS) project which is paid for by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Deputy Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Helen Whitehead said: “We know that many of you want to be able to support local businesses again and we have been working with them to ensure they are putting measures in place to maintain social distancing and keep customers and staff safe.
“While things will start to look more like normal, I would urge everyone to remember that we are still in a pandemic. Social distancing rules still apply and, although relaxation of some guidelines is welcomed, it is vital that we are responsible, considerate and entirely protective of those members of our community who are most vulnerable.
“Particularly as bars and restaurants open, I want to remind people not only to act responsibly but also to respect our towns. Social distancing is still in place, whether we are outdoors, shopping, or resuming work. These regulations are in place for a reason, and it isn’t to inconvenience, it isn’t an afterthought – it is to protect all of us and ensure that the infection rate does not rise again. Please look after yourselves and others. We are all depending on our ability as a community to care for each other, and I know that this hugely supportive community is more than capable of doing so.”
Local businesses have been urged to display a poster that lets customers know what measures have been taken to ensure they’re COVID-19 secure. It is a universal way to show that the Government guidelines are being followed.
Pubs, bars and restaurants are all operating differently in order to meet the guidelines they’ve been set. Those who are opening from this weekend are putting a variety of measures in place to ensure the safety of both staff and customers.
Tourism businesses have been invited to sign up to Visit Britain’s “We’re Good to Go” kitemark – a simple way for local residents and visitors to be confident that the business is adhering to the relevant Government and public health guidance, has carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and has all the necessary checks and procedures in place to ensure customer and staff safety. Visit Thanet’s website will have details of the places that are reopening or have opened.
Residents and businesses affected by the changes to parking, loading and unloading in the areas where temporary schemes are being introduced are being contacted directly with advice on the access arrangements which include Resident Parking Permit holders in Margate Old Town having use of the Market Street car park.