This update includes information on:
• Shops across the city open from today
• Markets reopening this week
• Free car parking on city council car parks
• Construction work at Smithfield ramps up
• Drowning Prevention Week
• Potters ‘Arf
Hundreds of shoppers have already returned to our town centres today after the latest easing of the Government’s lockdown rules. Non-essential stores have been closed since the end of March to help people stay safe and save lives during the coronavirus pandemic. Now many stores have reopened following the change in restrictions.
Queues formed outside intu Potteries, Primark and TK Maxx in the city centre, while hundreds of people had lined up to get inside Sports Direct on the nearby Octagon Retail Park by 10am.
A range of measures had been introduced in town centres and the city centre to support the safe return of workers, shoppers and visitors. These included barriers to restrict entrances and exits to busy shops and stencil marks at 109 locations across the city centre, spacing out two metre distancing. Roads such as Huntbach Street in the city centre have also been narrowed to allow pavements to be widened.
Council leader Councillor Abi Brown was in the city centre to explain the plans ahead of today’s reopening. To see the video, click here.
Also, SotLive spoke to traders today – you can watch the video here and find out more by following the #IAmOpen campaign on Twitter and Facebook.
Hanley city centre:
Working with the Business Information District, a range of safety measures were put in place for today’s reopening, including:
- Metal barriers at a number of shops – directing people in and out.
- Queue markings on the floor spacing out two metres at 109 locations.
- Larger stencils to welcome people into the city centre.
- A queuing system for people visiting the cash point at the NatWest bank.
- Specific entry and exit points to premises.
Other towns in the city:
All of our towns in Stoke-on-Trent are open for business from today. We are looking to address hotspots in all of our town centres where similar measures to those in the city centre may be needed. These will be targeted where required in a measured way. These changes have been funded through the government High Street Fund from which we received £227,000.
Social distancing measures have been put in place. These include a reduction in the number of seats available, directional markings including floor stickers and social distancing guidance.
As shops across the country reopen, the Government is encouraging business owners and shop workers to take photos in front of their ‘open’ sign and post these on their social media channels as part of its #OpenForBusiness campaign.
To support the campaign, post a picture with #OpenForBusiness and tag the Department for Business: Instagram: @beisgovuk / Twitter: @beisgovuk / Facebook: @industrialstrategygovuk
The department is also looking for short, self-shot videos of ‘a day in the life’ of staff in reopening businesses. If you own a a business and are interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support for high streets
The Government’s High Streets Task Force has announced new training, expert advice and online resources for high streets in England. This support is open to all organisations involved with high streets. Please find further details here: https://bit.ly/NewSupportHighStreets
Markets reopening this week
This week will see both our indoor and outdoor markets reopening.
We’ve been working with the traders to plan this and put all the necessary safety measures in place to protect shoppers and traders. This includes social distancing markers and reminders and hygiene sanitising facilities.
Support a local, independent business and pay them a visit.
Outdoor markets are reopening from Monday, June 15:
- Hanley outdoor market at Fountain Square, Hanley, open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
- Bentilee outdoor market at Bentilee Neighbourhood Centre car park, open Tuesdays 9am to 4pm.
- Fenton outdoor market at City Road, open Thursdays 8am to 3pm.
Sunday outdoor market and car boot sale at Birch Terrace next to Hanley bus station will remain closed until further notice.
Indoor markets are reopening from Wednesday, June 17:
- Hanley indoor market, open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
- Stoke indoor market, open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
- Longton indoor market, open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
- Tunstall indoor market, open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
The markets will operate with restricted entrance and exit arrangements, with hand sanitisers in place and one-way systems for shoppers. Stoke City’s community trust team will be out in the markets to support shoppers, advise on safety measures and guide visitors round the one-way systems in place.
Please remember to adhere to the social distancing measures when you visit. For more information about our markets go to www.stoke.gov.uk/markets
Free parking on city council car parks
Free car parking on all 42 city council car parks will be available until the end of June, to help support businesses, shoppers and visitors in the recovery from the coronavirus. Parking on off-street spaces is also free for the same period of time.
During the coronavirus restrictions, parking enforcement had been eased to support key workers and in light of national advice that people should only make essential journeys.
The reopening of high street shops and other retail means that footfall in the city will start to increase and offering free parking will help in the short-term as our economy starts to recover. We continue to urge residents to follow safety advice set out in Covid-19 secure shops, markets and other retail outlets and to adhere to the markers and safety measures put in place in various locations to help with this.
Traffic enforcement patrols will also be stepping up from next week and residents and businesses are reminded to be mindful of parking respectfully and in line with restrictions given the anticipated increase in traffic.
Construction work at Smithfield ramps up
Construction work on the Clayworks apartments and Hilton Garden Inn hotel at the Smithfield development in the city centre is now ramping back up, with work on site now returning to pre-coronavirus levels.
The past few months have been incredibly difficult for businesses, and the months to come will undoubtedly be as well. These two developments will be key to boosting footfall and spend in the city centre, which will provide significant economic benefits for the wider area, sending a positive message that Stoke-on-Trent remains open for business and is not standing still. It’s also good news for the local supply chain involved in the construction and fitting out of these two buildings.
Safety measures introduced on site include temperature testing, additional site cabins to facilitate social distancing among workers and rotated break times.
Remedial work is also taking place at Smithfield to improve existing paving and landscaping. Genr8 Developments has appointed a contractor to carry out the work, which will take around three months to complete and will significantly improve the appearance of the area to coincide with the completion of the Clayworks apartments and Hilton Garden Inn hotel.
Drowning Prevention Week
At this time of year, Stoke-on-Trent City Council is usually delivering water safety swimming lessons for children across Stoke-on-Trent and visiting schools to talk to pupils about the dangers of open water.
Although this year we cannot deliver this message in person, our teams still want to help to ensure everyone stays safe this summer.
As part of a virtual campaign, the city council is working with its partners at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to help support the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s (RLSS UK) Drowning Prevention Week.
The awareness-raising project takes place from 12 to 19 June. It aims to reduce the number of drowning and non-fatal drowning incidents in the UK, by showing people how to be safe but still have fun near water.
Here are some of ways you can learn more, get involved and help us spread the word:
- Watch our safety video – This video contains tips on how to stay safe around water both at home and outside. You can find it on the most recent episode of Staffordshire Fire & Rescue service’s Safe & Sound: https://learnliveuk.com/safesound/ or on our Active Stoke Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/activestoke/
- Visit the RLSS UK website to claim your free resources – Go to https://www.rlss.org.uk/drowning-prevention-week. On the website you will find more information on water safety and drowning prevention and you can register, using the link above, to receive lots of free resources including videos, games and activities.
- Use your social media pages to show us how you are getting involved in Drowning Prevention Week. Make sure you tag the ActiveStoke and the RLSS UK pages and use the hashtags #BeALifesaver #DPW to help us reach as many people as possible.
The RLSS UK is the country’s leading provider of water safety and drowning prevention education. For more details, visit https://www.rlss.org.uk/
The Potters ‘Arf Marathon should have been taking place yesterday, Sunday, 14 June, with the support from our main sponsor, Hanley Economic Building Society. Started in 1982, it’s an iconic local event that has been held every year in the heart of the Potteries. Following national Government guidance earlier this year, we sadly announced the cancellation of this year’s ‘Arf, but we are already starting to look forward to the amazing event which will take place in June 2021. Thank you to everyone who registered for this year’s event – we hope that you will be able to make it next year.
It’s important to try to stay fit, healthy and safe during these challenging times. Whether it’s a walk around the park, a run, a cycle or a work out at home – it all makes a difference to both your physical and mental wellbeing. There are loads of online exercise classes that you can take part in and if you don’t know where to start, follow the Dimensions Leisure Centre and Fenton Manor Sports Complex Facebook pages and you’ll get access to online daily classes and workouts led by our qualified teachers, which you can take part in at your leisure.
When more information is available, we’re looking forward sharing with you the details of next year’s Hanley Economic Building Society Potters ‘Arf Marathon.