After the Welsh Government’s go ahead for non-essential retailers to reopen from Monday, June 22nd, Neath Port Talbot Council is working hard with a range of partners to ensure shopping is as safe and enjoyable as possible for both workers and consumers.
While it will not be business as usual, with measures in place to protect the health and wellbeing of staff and shoppers, the council is determined to support local businesses to welcome back shoppers by minimising any potential disruptions.
The Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Cllr Rob Jones, said: “This is new for everyone and we will review measures on a daily basis to ensure they are fit for purpose. We are still in a pandemic and we will communicate regularly to remind visitors to our town centres to continue to adhere to government regulations.
“We are fortunate in Neath Port Talbot that generally, our main town centres have open street environments which require few changes to provide a safe environment for shoppers.
“The council’s main focus is to maximise protection of shoppers and people working in our town centres and while we’re making every effort to minimise inconvenience, there are areas and instances where this might not always be possible.”
What town centre visitors should know:
- Taxi ranks will continue to operate in their current locations and deliveries/access to businesses will not be affected.
- Free parking will continue until further notice.
- Seating and street furniture will not be removed but town centre visitors are reminded to avoid using them if possible, and if not, to take the necessary precautions to minimise the potential transfer of any virus.
- Signs will remind people of the need to respect social distancing and to remember to regularly and thoroughly wash their hands.
- Town Centre Rangers (supported by Police Community Support Officers) will be on hand in the first few weeks to support shoppers, help prevent any safety issues and identify any improvements to health and safety arrangements.
- Retailers will remain responsible for measures within their premises and queueing systems outside their premises.
- The pedestrianised areas in Neath and in Port Talbot will remain open for deliveries before 10.30 and after 17.00. The council will however monitor these arrangements going forward.
- Public toilets will remain closed at the current time in line with current guidance. This will be reviewed continually.
The proposals have been shared with both Business Improvement District (BID) managers in Port Talbot and Neath. Initial feedback is encouraging in that they agree with the council’s strategy of seeking the right balance between supporting businesses and encouraging shoppers back into town centres and ensuring people and staff are as safe as they can be.
Early on in ‘lockdown’, Neath Port Talbot Council launched its ‘Buy Local’ online portal - helping local businesses link up to help each other at this time. It provided a platform for essential retailers like locally owned food stores and grocers to promote delivery services. The council will now build on, develop and promote the Buy Local platform to support our local businesses.
Street cleansing will continue to be a priority for this council and as such cleaning staff will be continually working within our three main town centres during normal retail opening hours.
Maps and more information about the safety measures put in place in each town and information and support for businesses are available here: https://www.npt.gov.uk/23840 More stories