Bunting, flowers, and safety measures in place as further Saffron Walden businesses will open on Monday
- Credit: Gary Hyams
Bunting-lined streets, 50 hanging flower baskets and 10 hand sanitiser stations placed on pavements are among the new additions to Saffron Walden town centre, as further businesses open on Monday.
Saffron Walden Business Improvement District members are asking residents to shop local as the coronavirus lockdown starts to lift.
Some businesses such as pharmacies and food shops are already open, non essential shops will be allowed to reopen on Monday (June 15) and further businesses such as restaurants, hairdressers and pubs may be able to reopen on July 4.
Saffon Walden BID has also created and distributed Recovery Packs including window signage to show how many shoppers can enter a business at any one time, floor stickers to mark social distance spaces and a bottle of hand sanitiser for each business.
The website www.supportsaffronwalden.co.uk is updated with new information as it comes in, about which businesses are open and offering services. It was created by BID board chair Shara Vickers, and @supportsaffronwalden is being used on social media.
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Essex County Councillor John Moran has donated £3,000 from the Essex County Council members locality fund towards the costs. Cllr Moran said: “As the county councillor for Saffron Walden I am committed to supporting all businesses in our market town.
“Walden is at its heart a town with a thriving market, shops and service providers. I am therefore happy to be able to commit the sum of £3,000 from the Essex County Council members locality fund towards the costs of reopening our town to the public in a safe and reassuring manner.”
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Julie Redfern, Deputy Chair of SWBID, said: “It’s so important that our lovely town feels safe for us all and that customers have the confidence to shop and use the services of all our businesses. We are trying to build the cameraderie beween the different businesses. We can all help each other through this.”
Saffron Walden Mayor Heather Asker told Monday night’s council meeting that she and Councillor James De Vries have helped traders with their big clean-up, sprucing up shop fronts ahead of the re-opening, scrubbing door areas of closed charity shops and picking up litter.
The mayor said volunteers who have been creating scrubs have made bunting for Market Road, the town square and the town centre.
Businesses said they’re looking forward to welcoming shoppers again.
Jane Saja of Storks, which sells baby clothes and accessories, was supposed to be celebrating her first year of being in business when lockdown was announced on March 23. She said: “It will be nice to see people’s faces again and to be able to interact with people again.”
During lockdown her information-only website was converted to an online shop, and she has been delivering items locally. She has modified her shop layout, and has new stock in store.
Peter Hingston of gifts and cards store Talents said they are looking forward to Monday.
“It feels like we are starting a new business. The old world feels like a new world,” he said. “We have tried to follow all the government guidance. There are screens between staff and customers, there will be a one way system and limited numbers.
“As a result of the crisis the value of local shops has become clearer. I’m hoping that will be something that can continue. The international businesses bring nothing to the local community and if we want a community high street that’s vibrant which brings many benefits we are going to need to support each other.”
Sarah Burton said Burton and Son Butchers has been trading throughout lockdown and she is proud of her team who have delivered food to self-isolating customers.
“The town has felt quite a lonely place. We are so proud to have been able to support our regular customers and we have been doing home deliveries, a service we have not offered before. We went out to lots of poeple who were isolating.”
She added: “We’re still open and please shop in Saffron Walden. Please come and support the town.”
Sarah Cunningham at Cafe Cou Cou has been open for four weeks, after converting the cafe into more of a takeaway shop. They are making more breads, cakes and pastries. They have a one way system, sanitise everything, have a screen at the till, and a separate coffee waiting area.
“The BID team has been amazing, trying to coordinate everybody. There is a good atmosphere with the traders helping each other to return back to normal as quickly as we can.”