Southampton residents and visitors are being urged to plan ahead before visiting the city centre this weekend, as the hospitality sector begins to reopen.
In line with national guidance, pubs, restaurants and cafes are allowed to reopen from Saturday 4 July, provided they have taken appropriate safety measures, however not all businesses are choosing to open yet and for those that do, customers should be prepared for changes compared with pre-lockdown.
Southampton City Council, in partnership with GO! Southampton, the city centre’s Business Improvement District, is urging customers to:
- Check businesses are open before visiting and what new measures and processes they have put in place – e.g. bookings only (see below), ordering via app/phone, queueing areas, whether they’re still accepting cash payments
- Book ahead where possible – many hospitality businesses are operating on a pre-bookings only basis and any that allow walk-ins are likely to have queues due to reduced capacity as a result of social distancing. Even if not mandatory, pre-booking is strongly recommended where possible
- Be aware of current social distancing guidelines – the national guidance remains two metres, and ‘one metre plus’ where two metres isn’t possible. Hospitality businesses may be adopting the one metre plus option and will be taking other steps to mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission
- Be aware that hospitality businesses are being asked to keep a record of every customer to assist with potential contact tracing. Data must be collected and stored in line with data protection laws
- Plan their travel and remember that public transport operators will have reduced capacity on their services and face coverings must be worn by passengers
- Adhere to all current public health guidance, including stay at home if you or someone in your household is unwell with coronavirus symptoms and get tested, wash hands regularly with soap and water or using hand sanitiser, and avoid touching eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands
- Be respectful to staff and fellow customers.
Councillor Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member for Green City and Place, said: “We’re delighted that over 50 more businesses will be able to re-open on Saturday and welcome the return of residents and visitors to Southampton, which is vital to kick-starting the recovery of our local economy.
“We would encourage customers to travel to retail spaces by foot or bike wherever possible, to reduce emissions and traffic congestion, and to follow the guidance on safe travel on public transport where necessary. Please remember that not all businesses will be open and you may need to book in advance, so please check and plan your trip ahead of time.”
Giles Semper, Executive Director at GO! Southampton said: “We are absolutely delighted that many more of our BID levy-paying businesses are now able to open. Please do support the hospitality sector in Southampton, but do plan ahead and be prepared for things to be a bit different. Many businesses will have had to significantly adapt their processes in order to reopen safely and others may not be opening at all just yet. It is important that everyone uses their common sense and sticks to the guidance at all times to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the city centre.”
As well as the hospitality sector, hairdressers and barbershops are also approved to reopen from 4 July, on an appointment only basis and with necessary safety measures in place. Hotels and guest accommodation can also reopen from Saturday.
The latest easing of lockdown follows the reopening of non-essential retail from 15 June. For more information regarding the reopening of Southampton and visiting safely see visitsouthampton.co.uk/besmart