RUGBY is gearing up to re-open.
Rugby Borough Council is working with partners including Rugby First, the company running the town centre Business Improvement District, to make sure the town is safe for shoppers to return as lockdown restrictions continue to be eased.
Rugby Market re-opened for business last Friday and the partners worked with stallholders to ensure they had the necessary safety measures in place.
Retailers ranging from shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, can open again from Monday (June 15).
And work is well underway to make sure town businesses are ready and safe.
Rugby First’s Bid Rangers and Rugby Borough Council’s Community Wardens are preparing to mark out social distancing guides on pavements and pedestrianised areas, with regular reminders to keep two metres apart.
These measures will particularly focus on bus stops, taxi ranks, the market place and areas where queues may be expected to form.
Also involved is Warwickshire County Council’s highways team, which is looking at proposals for changes to the roads network, and town centre shopping centre Rugby Central.
The leaders of Rugby Borough Council’s political groups have welcomed the plans.
In a joint statement, council and Conservative group leader Coun Seb Lowe, Labour leader Coun Maggie O’Rourke and Liberal Democrat leader Coun Jerry Roodhouse said: “Our over-riding objective is to make sure that our residents and businesses feel safe to return to trade.
“It is down to each and every one of us to comply with social distancing guidelines and respect the measures that are in place, but with practical changes on the ground it will be easier to trade and shop safely.
“We hope that the steps we are taking now will both help traders to prepare and encourage residents to return to the town centre and support our local businesses.”
Alistair George, chair of Rugby First, said businesses were working hard to be ready to re-open.
“The town centre business owners that I have spoken to over the last few weeks, have been ensuring that the re-opening of their premises is achieved in the safest way possible.
“The guidelines for how different types of organisations will achieve this varies, but everyone has been very positive and keen to re-energise their business, whilst being Covid secure.
“While many premises have been vacated during lockdown, Rugby First has continued to ensure that there has been a presence in the town centre, monitoring premises and ensuring everyone’s safety and security, while also keeping the town centre clean.
“The team at Rugby First have also been able to assist many businesses with access to grant funding and providing contact information for a variety of bespoke requirements, adapting to the needs of the members at a very difficult time.”
To help businesses comply with the government’s requirements that they have a risk assessment showing they are Covid secure, Rugby Borough Council and Rugby First are providing checklist and guidance documents that traders can complete and make available on request.
Shopkeepers can download the checklist at www.rugby.gov.uk/coronavirus.