Guidance to help businesses in Durham stay safe

A new toolkit to has been put together to help businesses and residents stay safe as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

Monday, 6th July 2020, 11:57 am
Updated Monday, 6th July 2020, 11:58 am
Durham Cathedral

Businesses and venues in the hospitality sector, such as restaurants, pubs, hair salons, and cinemas, are now allowed to open to the public if they have appropriate social distancing measures in place.

Many took the opportunity to open their doors on July 4, and a number of others are following this week and later in the summer.

While a welcome boost to the county’s economy, county chiefs are reminding businesses and residents about the importance of safe practices as town centres adapt to a ‘new normal’.

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The council has developed an online toolkit for firms to support them to reopen safely including measures to protect staff and customers and template risk assessments.

Visitors returning to the county’s town centres are also being reminded to continue to follow the Government’s guidance on staying safe outside of the home.

From Saturday, people can meet in groups of up to two households, either indoors or outdoors, in line with social distancing. Groups must be no more than six people.

The council is working closely with its partners, such as the police and NHS, to ensure that those visiting town centres can do so confidently and safely.

Neighbourhood wardens will be available in town centres across County Durham carrying out patrols to reassure the public and responding to any low level antisocial behaviour.

Meanwhile, extra staff from the council’s clean and green team were deployed to help existing street cleaning staff over the weekend with potential clean ups.

Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, Coun Carl Marshall, said: “This next stage of reopening town centres is an important step to the recovery of our town centre economy which has been significantly impacted by the outbreak of the virus.

“With more businesses looking to reopen, more people will be encouraged to visit our town centres and shop locally, bringing money back into the county’s economy.

“However, as more people return to our town centres it is equally important that we all continue to be responsible and considerate to others, and follow the guidance set out by government at all times.

“This is to ensure we can all shop and visit our town centres safely, confidently, and without risk of further spread of the virus.”

Acting Durham Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Steve White, added: “Whilst things will look and be a little bit different it is really good to see businesses reopening as we move to the next stage.

“We appreciate that people want to have a good time, but as they do so we encourage them to act responsibly and with consideration to others.

“We are asking people to follow the key advice of know your limits, plan your day and consider how you will get home safely.”

As more businesses reopen in town centres, the council is also considering how outside areas are used and how it can assist the public and businesses to maintain social distancing while ensuring access is still available.

This comes as the Government issued guidance and a new process for local authorities to consider pavement licences for outdoor seating, with the consultation period reduced from 28 days to five working days.

However, a separate licence will still be required for the sale of alcohol.

For more information about visiting County Durham’s town centres, advice for businesses and the business reopening toolkit visit: www.durham.gov.uk/reopeningtowncentres

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