#WELCOMEBACKAW: support your town centres post-lockdown
Welcome back - that’s the key message from town centre traders as our community spaces look to bounce back from lockdown.
Adur & Worthing Councils have joined forces with businesses across the area to assure visitors that all efforts are being made to make shopping, going out and relaxing in our town centres a safe and relaxing experience.
A month-long campaign - titled #WelcomeBackAW - features a dozen businesses and organisations and the measures they have taken to adapt to the new normal.
Among those included are pubs, restaurants, cafes, taxi drivers, hairdressers, galleries and attractions, such as the Worthing Observation Wheel
The campaign comes after a Councils survey, which received more than 700 responses, showed more than half (53%) of respondents said they would like to visit shops, restaurants or cafes but were concerned about the risks.
It also showed 20% said they were ambivalent about going out, 17% are happy to go out and just 9% said they would definitely not be going out.
Armed with those figures the Councils together with traders are reaching out to residents with details of the measures taken to adhere to the government’s guidelines on safe towns.
One major trader, Andy Sparsis, founder of Proto Restaurant Group which owns The Fish Factory and The Fat Greek Taverna, said he welcomed the move.
He said: “Like everyone we take the pandemic very very seriously. It has affected all of us which is why we have put in measures in our restaurants to make them safe and help our customers have a relaxing, fun time out. This campaign will give us all the chance to tell residents just how seriously we are taking their safety and I welcome it.”
In the next few weeks a number of traders will be profiled telling residents about their businesses and the measures they have taken.
Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “It is still vitally important that we all observe measures to combat COVID such as social distancing and washing our hands at least 20 seconds but it is also now possible that we can access our town centres, enjoy shopping or having a meal whilst supporting our businesses safely. They are the lifeblood of our local economy and I personally will be doing as much as I can to support them.”
Cllr Brian Boggis, Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “We have all been affected by this terrible virus and as a Council we will remain on high alert. That is why we are behind this safe return to activity in our town centres. We understand we all need to do all we can to answer the genuine concerns residents have and that is why #WelcomeBackAW gives traders the platform to do just that.”
The campaign will also continue to stress the need for individuals to adhere to safety measures such as washing hands, wearing face masks where required and keeping to social distancing measures.
It will be supported by the government’s Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, which has provided grants from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to councils across England to support the safe reopening of high streets and other commercial areas.
#WelcomeBackAW is part of And Then, the Councils short, sharp programme of interventions and assistance to help the communities of Adur and Worthing bounce back from the impact of lockdown.
CASE STUDY ONE - FINCH BAR & EATERY, WORTHING
Founded in 2018 and based in vibrant Warwick Street in Worthing town centre, Finch Bar & Eatery has introduced a range of measures to ensure the safety of their customers and staff.
As owner Tom Lines, who also owns the Garden Pantry in Brighton Road, explains: “We’re lucky to have outdoor seating, but for those who prefer to sit indoors, we’ve created plenty of space between our tables to make it safe. There’s also hand sanitiser by the entrance for customers to use, we’re currently offering table service only, and all our staff wear face coverings when serving customers.”
Since reopening, Finch Bar & Eatery has been busier than expected - as well as welcoming back many regular customers, they’ve had lots of new customers too.
“We’ve worked hard to make sure that the quality of food and the customer experience won't be compromised by the changes,” says Tom.
Finch, which is open Monday to Sunday, is part of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. This means that throughout August, from Monday to Wednesday, customers will get 50% off their food and drink.
CASE STUDY TWO - TAP HOUSE, SHOREHAM
“Home cooked food, sourced from local suppliers, cask marque kept local ales and beers, and most importantly a friendly atmosphere where safe service is a priority.”
Darren Gearing, Founder & Director of Our Eating House Group, explains what’s in store for customers returning to The Tap House.
The venue in East Street, Shoreham, has recently reopened, along with the group’s other venues - The Beach House and The Corner House, which are both in Worthing.
Darren, who owns the businesses with lifelong friends Matt and Tim Taylor, says his local establishments are doing everything they can to keep customers safe.
All team members have undertaken “COVID Return to Work” protocol training while socially distanced tables, hand sanitiser stations, one way signage systems, contactless payments and increased cleaning have been introduced.
All three locations will be taking part in the government’s Eat Out To Help Out discount programme, and they are also offering an added value set menu for adults and children.
Darren added: “Our teams couldn't wait to get back to work, we are also fortunate to have many regulars who have all said how happy they are to be back!”