We are working with Experience Guildford, our Business Improvement District, to support businesses and retailers and put new safety measures in place ready to welcome residents and visitors back to the town centre next week.
Current government restrictions which began in March to protect the NHS and save lives by limiting the spread Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak will be lifted from Monday 15 June and many non-essential shops will open their doors for the first time in nearly three months.
In anticipation of more visitors to the town, we are following government guidance and putting new measures in place to create a new environment for shoppers. This includes using some parking bays to enable us to widen footpaths, dedicated external queueing systems and longer road closures in key areas.
We ask everyone visiting the town to please:
– Observe social distancing rules staying 2m apart from other shoppers
– Follow the direction of our new signs as you make your way around town
– Use contactless card payment where you can
– Wash your hands as often as possible
– Use hand sanitiser when available
– Keep your shopping group small
Cllr John Redpath, Lead Councillor for Economy and Regeneration says: ‘The pandemic has been challenging for everyone and has been particularly difficult for many of our businesses and retailers. As a Council we are doing all we can to support our local economy, we’ve paid grants on 1480 properties of nearly £20m, we are promoting the discretionary grants scheme and we’ve provided business rate holidays. We look forward to welcoming residents and visitors back into town to start to shop again as lockdown restrictions begin to ease. We remind everyone we must still follow the government guidance on social distancing and keep washing our hands in order to minimise the spread of the virus. We are working with Experience Guildford and other town centre partners to do everything we can to make sure we can all enjoy the experience of the new way to shop. Thank you in advance for your patience while we all get used to these new measures and thanks to the European Regional Development Fund for supporting our #iSupportGuildford campaign.’
He adds: ‘Our town centre parking remains free for the rest of June until Wednesday 1 July. Farnham Road car park will stay free of charge in July to help provide support for our key workers.’
Amanda Masters, Chief Executive of Experience Guildford says: ‘We are excited to be able to welcome people back to Guildford town centre but recognise that recovery will be a gradual process. We are taking steps to give those who want to return to the town centre the confidence to do so.
She explains: ‘We hope that shoppers will continue to be cautious, calm, and kind. This is new to all of us, so if you have concerns we would encourage you to take time to talk to staff, business owners or our Town Rangers who may be able to put your mind at ease. The Council’s extension of free parking within town-centre car parks is a great initiative for businesses looking forward to the return of their customers from Monday 15 June.’
Claire Suggitt, Centre Manager for Tunsgate Quarter says: ‘The opening of non-essential shops on Monday is an exciting and huge step forward. Tunsgate Quarter has been working hard, in partnership with Guildford Borough Council and Experience Guildford, to help get Guildford retail back to business.’
She adds: ‘I can assure shoppers that all necessary precautions and measures have been put in place to ensure that they can shop safely and with confidence, and we are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Tunsgate Quarter over the coming weeks.’