Many more shops have now reopened and it is good to see that the High Street is gradually coming back to life.
Each shop owner has adapted how they work to make sure it is safe for staff and customers. Some have introduced booking systems while others are limiting numbers of people allowed in at one time. Just reopening is an achievement in its own right.
There has also been a lot of work in recent weeks planning how to make sure the areas outside the shops are safe as well as tapping in to the recent increase in walking and cycling. This involved close cooperation between Cheltenham and Gloucestershire Councils as well the local Business Improvement District.
To assist with this we have had £103,577 from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. The overall package of measures includes widening pavements in key areas to allow more space for safe queueing. This has been done along Bath Road and also in North Street which seems just as well given the immediate queuing outside Primark. There is also extra signage to encourage distancing along with extra cleaning. The council has extra staff on hand working with the BID Ambassadors to provide advice and help where needed. Importantly the public toilets in the town centre are all open.
Sadly some stores haven’t survived the extremely difficult times during lockdown and won’t be reopening. We still haven’t even got to the point where indoor restaurants, cafés and bars can open for anything other than takeaways. However the Cheltenham Trust have been running their #letsmeetagain campaign encouraging the local community to make bunting to decorate the outdoor spaces at the venues that they will be using for exciting new events. These start from 22 June at the Garden Bar and Skillicorne Gardens.
It is still early days and no one knows exactly how things will work out but a lot of people have put in a lot of work to make sure Cheltenham is ready to reopen.