This update includes information on:
- Play areas reopen
- Food businesses
- Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers
- A500 fully reopened to traffic
- Facebook Live
- Annual canvass starts tomorrow
- Public toilets reopen
- Library services – Click, Call and Collect
- Visit your local market
Play areas reopen
Playgrounds across Stoke-on-Trent have reopened following national government changes to lockdown measures in England.
This means 94 council sites are now available in the city, with rules in place which families must follow. These are:
- Maintain social distancing and avoid gathering in groups;
- Wash or sanitise your hands frequently;
- Clean the play equipment before and after use;
- Use the bins provided, or take your rubbish home with you;
- Do not eat on the play equipment.
In line with national government guidance, play areas had been closed to the public during the pandemic.
Last month the Government announced several changes to lockdown measures in England, with some facilities allowed to reopen including outdoor playgrounds from July 4.
Signs have now been placed at all of the council’s play areas across Stoke-on-Trent to remind families to follow the rules. Please be aware, all equipment is used at the person’s own risk.
You might have seen reports in the national media last month linking food manufactures with coronavirus outbreaks, with some described as ‘hot spot’ areas. Following on from this, to ensure safety within the city we have made contact with food manufacturers and food businesses in the city to make sure they were following safe working guidelines, and to offer our support and help if needed.
We also encouraged them to practice early reporting of cases and explained the test and trace system. Furthermore, we ensured the businesses had sufficient measures in place to control the risk of coronavirus, and had a risk assessment in place. We are pleased to say the vast majority had proper procedures in place and no concerns were raised.
Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers
Trading standards officers are thanking the vast majority of pubs, restaurants and hairdressers for following government guidelines after they were allowed to reopen at the weekend.
City council teams said the national advice is being followed and there were very few issues surrounding the correct covid-19 secure measures being put in place.
Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers were able to reopen in England from 4 July, provided they met government criteria for keeping staff and customers as safe as possible.
Each business is responsible for putting the correct measures in place to meet these requirements.
We would like to thank businesses for working with us and adhering to the guidance.
Our trading standards teams will continue to liaise with businesses such as cafes, snack bars, pubs, restaurants, licensed members’ clubs, works canteens, hotels and guest houses, hairdressers and bingo halls to assist them to be covid-19 secure.
Please could we ask customers to continue to do their bit by following the measures that are being put in place.
Businesses that are unsure about to how to comply with the guidance can email email@example.com and our teams will work with them so they can operate in a safe manner.
Trading standards will continue to monitor compliance and will intervene where appropriate. Businesses can be ordered to put additional measures in place or even to close if necessary.
As a reminder, businesses that are still not allowed to open must please stay closed until further changes are announced.
For more information on the government’s guidance, click here.
A500 fully reopened to traffic
Highways England has completed work to widen the A500 between Porthill (A5271) and Wolstanton (A527) three months earlier than anticipated. The 1km stretch has been widened from two lanes to three, with all lanes now open for traffic.
The widening will provide more capacity to ease congestion, improve journey time reliability, and safety. The speed limit has been lowered from 70mph to 50mph, making this stretch consistent with the majority of the A500 in this area, allowing traffic to flow better.
Since work began in February 2019 on the scheme, there has been:
- More than 175,000 working hours completed
- 655 metres of concrete safety barrier installed in the central reservation – almost six times the length of Stoke City’s football pitch
- 380m of retaining wall metal sheets erected – which is 20 times the height of the Oblivion rollercoaster at Alton Towers
- Over 40,000 tonnes of crushed stone, sand and gravel put down – the weight of more than 800 HGVs.
- 616 people have worked on the project
With all lanes now open, the finishing touches will be added over the summer including the final landscaping works. To safely carry out the finishing touches and final landscaping to the scheme, a small number of overnight closures will be required during the next few weeks and a full weekend closure of the southbound carriageway along this stretch from 9pm on July 10 until 5am on July 13.
Our latest Facebook Live session with council leader Abi Brown will take place this Thursday from Hanley Park, starting at 4.30pm. Cllr Brown will be talking about the park’s restoration and taking a look at the reopened Pavilion Cafe. People can watch the Facebook Live – and submit questions beforehand – at www.facebook.com/sotcitycouncil
Annual canvass starts tomorrow
Residents are being warned not to lose their voice on decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are up to date.
The annual canvass will start tomorrow (July 8) and ensures that the city council can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered so that they can be encouraged to do so.
It’s important that residents keep an eye out for messages from the council, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in the city. To make sure you are able to have your say at elections, people should simply follow the instructions from the council.
If anyone is not registered, their name will not appear in the messages we send. If someone wants to register, the easiest way is online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, or we’ll send information explaining how to do this in the post.
This year’s canvass, which we have to carry out by law, is taking place during a challenging public health situation. We are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing.
People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the voter registration messages from the council and check the details.
Public toilets reopen
On Monday, July 6 public toilets at the following locations reopened with their usual opening hours.
- Hanley Indoor Market
- Stoke Indoor Market
- Longton Indoor Market
- Hanley Park
- Central Forest Park
- Longton Park
- Burslem Park
- Tunstall Park
- Longton public toilets
- Tunstall public toilets
- Fenton public toilets
These public toilets have reopened in line with Government guidance. The following safety measures have been put into place at the facilities:
- Busier facilities will have attendants working to keep them clean.
- Less frequently used facilities will not have attendants, but will be cleaned on a more frequent basis.
- Some facilities may be operated as unisex facilities.
- Disabled facilities will be open.
Anybody using the facilities is asked to maintain personal hygiene and follow social distancing guidance within any facilities or when in a queue. They are also asked to follow the onsite advice and advice given by any attendant.
All of these measures will be kept under review.
Library services – Click, Call and Collect
Library services have begun to return this week after our Longton and Tunstall sites started a Click, Call and Collect service from Monday, 6 July. This is part of plans for a phased reopening of all six Stoke-on-Trent libraries. For more information on Click Call and Collect, including frequently asked questions, please click here. For other information about library services, including online resources and becoming a member, visit https://www.stoke.gov.uk/libraries or go to https://www.facebook.com/stokeontrentlibraries/ or https://twitter.com/SoTLibraries
Visit your local market
It is fantastic to see all our markets open again, and welcoming customers in. Our message to shoppers is: come and have a look – there is more choice and more goods for you to choose from, and we want to encourage everyone to visit in the knowledge that our facilities are open with measures to protect visitors and traders.
Our markets have a wide range of traders offering food, flowers, pet products and clothing to name just a few. Markets make an exceptional contribution to the community and we urge residents to shop fresh and local.
During the lockdown, when many independent businesses have struggled nationally, the council has actually received new requests from people wanting to open market stalls.
Click here to find out your local markets opening times.