News release from 06/08/2021

Council High Streets team passes milestone of 1,000 visits and enquiries

Council High Streets team passes milestone of 1,000 visits and enquiries

A Council team set-up to help South Cambridgeshire’s businesses re-open safely has passed the milestone of 1,000 interactions with local traders in a year.

The District Council’s Reopening High Streets Safely Team, funded by the EU, was established in July 2020 to support local small to medium sized businesses recover and reopen.

Reopening team

During the last year, the small team of three officers has visited around 700 businesses to provide them with face-to-face advice, and dealt with more than 300 enquiries, concerns and queries that have come into the Council. Whether it be providing banners, signage and stickers to help promote a "Shop local, stay safe" message, assisting with COVID-19 risk assessments, clarifying rapidly changing guidelines or offering advice on cleaning, the team has provided a wide range of support during the past year – all aimed at keeping customers and staff safe.

Since legal restrictions eased in July 2021, the team’s High Street Business Support Officers have been continuing to carry out supportive visits and gathering information on what COVID-19 measures businesses are keeping in place to help reassure shoppers.

Since 19 July 2021, the team has visited almost 130 South Cambridgeshire businesses and out of these, around half have stated that they are keeping all existing COVID-secure measures in place, approximately 40% have said that they are keeping some measures in place, and just 4% have said that they are not keeping any measures in place.

A caravan parked amongst trees and flowers.

One local business that the Council’s officers have provided guidance to is Highfield Touring Park in Comberton. They are continuing to keep their COVID precautions in place. Beverley Maughan from there said: “We have had a couple of visits from the Reopening High Streets Team. One of their officers has just left us this morning (Wednesday 4 August 2021) and it’s nice to know that there is someone out there looking after us and being able to answer questions on our safety and our customers. We have decided to keep all our regulations in place until we close in October.”

A number of people exercising in a gym.

Another local business with measures still in place is Lifezone CrossFit Gym in Bassingbourn. At the entrance there is a contactless hand sanitiser, along with a QR code for NHS Test and Trace purposes. A booking system is used for all classes, while disinfectant wipes are provided for members to use before and after use of any equipment. Additionally, equipment is cleaned after each class. Signs to encourage social distancing remain in place and exercise is carried out with shutter doors open, or takes place outside, to help with ventilation. The gym flood is also steam cleaned at least twice a week or as necessary. Lukasz Kaminski from the gym said: “Lifezone CrossFit is not a regular gym, it is a lifestyle characterised by safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition. Whatever your goal, improved health, weight loss, time out from working/family life to better sport performance, CrossFit will accomplish all.”

Peter McDonald

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Business Recovery and Skills, Cllr Peter McDonald, said: “It’s reassuring to know via our survey of businesses that the vast majority are keeping some form of COVID secure measures in place to keep customers and staff safe. We know COVID hasn’t gone away so this is piece of mind for all of us. I’m extremely proud of the work our Reopening High Streets Safely Team has done. They have been the customer face of the Council for the past year, providing invaluable, personal support to hundreds of South Cambridgeshire’s small businesses. Having someone on hand to answer questions personally has been hugely appreciated by our local businesses – the vast majority of which are small and do not have large corporate set-ups behind them to assist. Being that first point of contact at the Council has really helped with the rapidly changing guidance and how it may affect local businesses – while they have also advised on grant enquiries or social media promotions. This is all in line with our latest motto, ‘Let’s keep each other safe’ while we support local traders who have really bent over backwards during the pandemic to provide services to their community.”

Jyoti Atri, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council said: “It’s really important we keep each other safe on the High Street and in all areas of life. Over the last week, we have seen a concerning rise in cases across the local area and also an increase in hospitalisations too, This is most likely due to easing of restrictions on 19 July, with people likely to be socialising more. However, we are in a precarious position, the Delta variant is highly transmissible, dangerous and sadly, in some cases, deadly. We all must do everything we can do to slow the transmission of the virus and I am asking that people continue to follow the guidelines around hands, face, space and ventilation to help reduce the harm that this virus can do.

“There is some good news – the vaccine is proving to be highly effective in stopping people being hospitalised. Please get your first and second jabs. It is particularly important that people receive their second jab which gives excellent protection. You can have it eight weeks after you received the first one. The vaccine is safe and could potentially save your life.”

The scheme is run by South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Reopening the High Streets Safely team, which was established in spring 2020 with European Regional Development Fund funding aimed at helping High Street businesses to safely reopen their doors after the first lockdown. It has been visiting businesses to offer guidance and support, as well as sharing videos online to promote the many ways local businesses have been adapting and bouncing back in response to national restrictions. Any customer-facing business needing support is encouraged to contact the team via Reopening@scambs.gov.uk

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