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Town centres reopening for businesses

Published: 19/10/2023
town centre shops

Across the borough, shops and businesses are preparing to reopen from Monday 15 June, following the government’s latest guidance.

To help keep everyone safe while in town centres and shopping areas within the borough, Ashford Borough Council has increased cleaning, including that of public toilets and benches. There will be one-way systems in place to ensure social distancing can be maintained in narrow areas, such as Park Mall and County Square in Ashford.

Many businesses across the borough have been badly affected by the coronavirus outbreak, please support your local high street and town centres in the borough if you are able to.

Shoppers are reminded to follow the latest guidance on social distancing and to follow any signage within the town centres. If you are travelling on public transport, remember you will need to wear a face covering, this is required from Monday 15 June.

The council has been working with Tenterden Town Council to ensure the reopening of the shops in Tenterden is done safely, including requesting the removal of A-boards to maximise space on the pavements for shoppers.

There will be environmental health staff in each of the town centres in the first week of reopening to offer advice to any businesses who need some support in the reopening process. Hand sanitiser stations will be available at the entrance to Park Mall, Elwick Place and outside Tenterden Town Hall.

The council’s car parks in both Ashford and Tenterden are open as normal and taking contactless payments through the RingGo app. You will need an account to use this service but it only takes minutes to set up.

Cllr Peter Feacey, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing, said: "The reopening of our shops is an important one for businesses, but it is vital that people are safe while they are shopping. We ask that visitors are patient and follow the guidance on social distancing when out with people not in their households. We would encourage residents to support the borough’s high streets during this difficult time by shopping local wherever possible."

The council has received funding from the EU Regional Development Fund to pay for a range of measures to reopen high streets safely.