A restart tool kit has been launched to support businesses planning to reopen and ensure they are COVID secure.
Pubs, restaurants, cafes, and hairdressers and other sectors can find information about reopening safely by using hub provided by Huntingdonshire Distict Council (HDC).
The toolkit includes updates on food safety and licensing where the Government has issued enhanced guidance on licence and permit requriements, which could enable the creation of ‘pavement’ cafes for premises who have the space to do so.
HDC has worked in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council to offer a simplified fast-track application process (when the proposed Business and Planning Bill comes into force later in July) to allow businesses to apply for temporary licence measures. Thi will include pavement licences for provision of food and drink, minimising costs and expediting the current pavement licence process, for placing tables and chairs outside of premises such as pubs, cafes, restaurants and other food and drink outlets.
Executive leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Cllr Ryan Fuller, said: “Businesses have experienced the toughest few months they are likely to ever face but as Huntingdonshire takes its first major steps in recovery, it is vital we as a local authority help assist businesses to be in the best position to be able to safely trade again.
“Throughout the lockdown closure period the council, as the licensing authority, has maintained an open dialogue with businesses and will be exercising its discretion on a case-by-case basis to try and swiftly help re-establish day-to-day operations for businesses.
“This weekend is likely to see more residents going out to shop and visit locally than the district has been used to in the last few months. The measures we are putting in place in town centres to maintain social distancing are there to make sure people stay safe but can also enjoy renewed freedoms.”
Chief Inspector Nick Skipworth, from Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said: “The constabulary has worked with partners to offer advice as the easing of restrictions continues and our night-time economy begins to reopen. Our officers will be on-hand to continue that support over the weekend and beyond, engaging with people and encouraging them to adhere to the latest social distancing guidelines.
We continue to encourage people to respect the guidelines put in place by pubs and restaurants and recognise that the pandemic is not over. We want people to enjoy themselves this weekend but to do so responsibly and we will not tolerate crime or anti-social behaviour.”
The district council says it will continue to work closely with local businesses, town councils, Federation of Small Businesses, Chamber of Commerce as well as engaging with Cambridgeshire County Council Highways to prepare for a ‘new normal’ look in Huntingdon, St Ives, St Neots and Ramsey town centres.
To find out more on a temporary licence needed for pavement seating, you can visit the webpage and apply for a licence at: www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/pavementlicences. Businesses and employers can access the latest information and guidance on how to safely reopen by visiting: www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/council-democracy/reopening-our-towns/business-restart-toolkit.