Retailers in Chesterfield town centre have started to re-open, signifying an ease of lockdown restrictions and the restarting of the country’s economy.
Having a longstanding open air market has facilitated a phased return of retailers to the town centre from 1 June following the lifting of restrictions by the government which allowed open air markets and car showrooms to re-open.
All other non essential shops and stores were given the go-ahead by the government to re-open from 15 June with strict social distancing measures in place.
The success of the social distancing measures in place for the regular market has prompted Chesterfield Borough Council to now re-open the town’s popular weekly Flea Market. It re-opened on 11 June and will be open every Thursday. The popular monthly Artisan Market will also return on Sunday 26 July.
To ensure the ongoing safety of retailers, market traders and visitors, there is now visible signage around the town centre advising shoppers where to queue outside individual shops. There are also signs in areas such as car parks and green spaces reminding people to follow social distancing guidelines keeping two metres apart from anyone outside of their household, and not to congregate in groups.
There are also a variety of safety measures in place in shops and stores to ensure staff and shoppers are safe, including hand sanitiser stations, Perspex screens and appointment-only shopping.
Chesterfield Borough Council has appointed a number of ambassadors, who have been deployed around the town centre to assist shoppers and maintain safe social distancing.
Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “The safety of those who live, work and shop in Chesterfield town centre remains the council’s number one priority and we have been working closely with local retailers and market traders to make sure we can maintain safe social distancing within the town centre.”
Retailers have praised the measures Chesterfield Borough Council has put in place around the town centre. “The council has also really considered the flow of people around The Shambles so we’re confident that social distancing is fully in place for every visitor,” said Laura-Jo Owen, owner of Adorn Jewellers in The Shambles.
Despite the lockdown Chesterfield’s businesses have shown resilience in their ability to quickly adapt to trading during the pandemic, offering services such as click and collect, home delivery and online shopping enabling people to continue to Shop Local.
Destination Chesterfield and the council have supported local businesses with a ‘Supporting Local’ webpage showcasing the town’s businesses, charities and retailers providing advice, products and services throughout the crisis.
Retailers welcomed the Shop Local campaign believing it has help raise awareness of the importance of buying goods and services locally to benefit the economy.
Laura Jo Owen, added: “With many people relying on local businesses through the lockdown period our feedback has been that people are immensely grateful they still have local shops.”
Lisa Swift, owner of Shop Indie based in Vicar Lane Shopping Centre, agreed, saying: “We believe that people will have a much better appreciation of local businesses they have been reliant on during lockdown. We are hopeful that they will continue to Shop Local once the restrictions are lifted and this may lead to a rejuvenation of the high street.”
Chesterfield Borough Council has pledged its ongoing support for town centre businesses. Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “We will continue to support our local businesses and retailers as much as we can to ensure the long-term viability of the town centre as a place to visit, shop and socialise.”
Only walking distance from Chesterfield’s vibrant town centre, Chesterfield Waterside is an attractive location to live, work and socialise.
Construction is expected to start later this year to develop circa 35,000 sq ft of Grade A office accommodation with ground floor retail units within Basin Square.
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