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Cappuccino with your square sausage? How pavement cafe culture could help our high streets

Continental style

COULD Continental-style pavement cafe culture have a role in reviving our town centres as lockdown restrictions are eased? Dumfries and Galloway Council think so as they unveil a Town Centre Restart Task Force, complete with ambassadors to champion each urban centre. In a statement they say: "The council recognises that restarting of our high streets and town centres will be a key factor in our economic recovery as we progress through the Government's route map and our economy starts to reopen. Our businesses have been hit hard, and we continue to do everything we can to help. "The Scottish Government announced on 18 June that shops in Scotland which have access directly onto the street could open from 29 June, and has now announced that cafes, pubs and restaurants can open for outside trading from 6 July and indoor trading from 15 July. "We have activated plans to prepare our town centres for an increase in activity so that they are safe environments for us all to enjoy the services of our local businesses." There are 17 town centres across Dumfries and Galloway, with Stranraer second in size after Dumfries. "We have formed a dedicated Town Centre Restart Task Force within the council to plan and prepare our town centres for safe reopening. "This team is looking at all aspects of safely reopening our town centres: business support, safe shopping, additional street cleansing, supporting communities, social distancing, and the needs of our town centre residents with as little upheaval as possible. "We are already distributing signage and carrying out cleansing programmes to our public spaces. "We are allocating ‘town centre ambassadors' to each of the major towns. Our ambassadors will be easily identifiable and will be out and about on our streets, providing advice and answering queries. "We may need to make some necessary temporary adaptations so we can provide safe spaces for queuing and pedestrians. We will discuss any alterations with local communities and businesses, but ask that you please understand that modifications will be required in some places. "This could mean altering traffic flow or reducing parking spaces or litter bins by a small number to make space outside shops, but again, only where there is no alternative. We ask for patience and understanding, recognising that these temporary measures are necessary to create safe spaces for all in our town centres." Rob Davidson, Chair of Economy and Resources Committee said: “Since the start of Covid we have already paid out over £37m worth or grants to our local businesses to support them through the necessary closures. We have helped our communities and our most vulnerable to stay safe and provided support when needed to our partners. The next step is to help get our local shops re-opened for business and to encourage people safely back to our town centres and High Streets. This has been an extremely challenging period for all of us, and we are looking forward to welcoming folk back into our local centres .” Vice Chair Archie Dryburgh said: “Never has it been more important to shop local but shop safe. We are doing as much as we are able to make sure that our town centres are safe places to be: encouraging community confidence in our spaces and asking that we all support our local shops. There will be some upheaval, but this will be unavoidable, but by working together with them community and shop owners recognising why this is necessary, we will get through this together.”

<< back Published: 25 Jun 2020, 10:09

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