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Helping High Streets Reopen Safely

Written by on 12 June 2020

Shoppers are being welcomed back to our high streets from Monday as non-essential retailers reopen their doors.

Swale Borough Council is supporting local shops by putting in place measures so people feel confident they can safely come back to our high streets.

Things won’t be the same as normal, as people need to maintain social distancing. Individual shops must have plans to manage how people can socially distance inside their premises, and in any queues outside along their frontage.

The council will be supporting local retailers with a range of measures to encourage people to maintain social distancing as part of a campaign welcoming shoppers back to our high streets, and encouraging people to be kind, be patient and be safe. 

People will be encouraged to follow a one-way system as much as possible with markings on the pavements in the busiest areas.

Street furniture and car park machinery will be cleaned daily, with signage installed around them to remind people to social distance

There will also be real time monitoring of the town centres by CCTV cameras, to give an overview of activity in the local areas.

Cllr Monique Bonney, cabinet member for economy and property at the council, said:

“It’s encouraging that local shops will be able to open their doors again, but we have to make sure it’s safe and people feel comfortable visiting them again. 

“But it won’t be the same shopping experience as usual as shops will have measures in place to keep customers and their staff safe. 

“This will probably mean queues inside and outside shops, particularly at busy times, so we want people to be kind and courteous.

“It’s been a tough few months for a lot of people and you don’t know what the person in front of you has gone through.  We’re famous for queueing, so it would be great if people used it as an opportunity to say hello to someone in the queue with them – you might be the first person they’ve spoken to in a while!

“People need to be patient as it might take a bit longer to shop. This will be new for the staff in the shop too, and any changes are for good safety reasons. 

“On narrow paths and in doorways, please wait at a distance for others to go past so they don’t feel uncomfortable about getting too close.

“It is important people stay safe. We need to keep socially distancing, washing our hands and consider wearing facemasks. 

“This is new for us all, it will take a bit of time to bed in, so we need to be adaptable. Things may change and we’ll have to react to that, but we need to support our local high streets, they are very important.

“The last thing we want is a second wave, so we all need to do our bit and work together to prevent that, so please, be kind, be patient, and be safe.”

The council is hand-delivering letters to shops in high streets to let them know about the changes, providing posters and signs for their windows, and encouraging them to get in touch to highlight any issues they are facing.

For more information about the work being done to support shops reopening, visit