Flintshire Council calls on First Minister to follow England’s lead an allow shops to reopen in Wales
Thousands of non-essential shops across the border in England are reopening their doors to customers today for the first time in almost three months.
Non-essential shops closed across the UK when Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a lockdown in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.
High street retailers and department stores, including book shops, electronics retailers, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, indoor markets, and shops selling clothes, shoes and toys, will be allowed to open their doors again provided they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines.
Around 200 shops are expected to open in neighbouring Chester today according to CH1 Chester BID.
Ready for #Manicmonday 7:30am, people already queuing outside Primark in Chester @BBCNews pic.twitter.com/SYceVhbtqI
— Angie Dudman (@angiedudman) June 15, 2020
Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet has reopened with restricted customer capacities and adjusted opening hours from 10am to 6pm.
Retailers will need to take certain steps to protect customers and staff, including limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time, placing protective coverings on large items such as sofas which may be touched by passing shoppers, and frequently checking and cleaning objects and surfaces.
Employers should also display a notice visibly in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they have followed this guidance.
The move to allow shops to reopen in England comes despite the UK governments own COVID-19 alert level standing at 4 indicating that transmission of the virus is still ‘high.’
Level 4 is defined as: “A COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially.”
Wales is taking a more cautious approach to the easing of lockdown measures, first minister Mark Drakeford tweeted on Sunday: “Non-essential retail remains closed in Wales.
We will make a decision on whether they’ll reopen later this week.
Businesses should prepare for reopening by ensuring that they are able to adapt to follow the 2m rule.”
Non-essential retail remains closed in Wales.
We will make a decisions on whether they’ll reopen later this week.
Businesses should prepare for reopening by ensuring that they are able to adapt to follow the 2m rule. pic.twitter.com/CLKVKHT8KF
— Mark Drakeford (@fmwales) June 14, 2020
Flintshire Council is urging the Welsh Government to follow the lead of the UK Government and ease measures in Wales allowing shops to re-open here.
The council said it is planning how to reopen town centres in Flintshire and has called on the views on local businesses on what would help them to reopen effectively.
A Flintshire Council spokesperson said: “The Council is currently planning how the reopening of town centres can be supported in line with Government guidance.
When town centres are able to reopen fully we want them to be able to offer a safe and warm welcome to everyone and we hope that the communities of Flintshire will be eager to support their local towns.
The Council is planning how social distancing measures can be implemented and how businesses can be supported.
With this in mind, we would welcome the views of businesses in the town centres on what would help them to reopen effectively.
Chester is back! @ShitChester pic.twitter.com/wB3q6beXRW
— Sam Warrenger (@SamWarrenger) June 15, 2020
In addition, the Council will be considering how to make the town centres more convenient for users of public and private transport as well as pedestrians and cyclists and how the attractiveness of the towns can be enhanced.
The Council will work property owners and potential new businesses to help maintain the vitality of each town.
Consultation will take place with Town and Community Councils, residents and businesses on all potential improvements.
We believe that non-essential retail should be allowed to re-open in the next First Minister’s review of the restrictions, alongside England, to restore our town centres.
We are pressing Welsh Government for this positive decision.”
Mark Drakford will announce on Friday the outcome of the fourth lockdown review as he is required to do every 21 days under emergency regulations implemented in March.
Following the third review at the end of May, the first minister told retailers to “prepare to open” but gave no specific dates.
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