Town centre marshals to support businesses and visitors this Christmas
Following the easing of national COVID-19 restrictions, non-essential retail, hairdressers and hospitality premises will be able to reopen from Wednesday 2 December.
This Saturday (5 December) also marks Small Business Saturday which is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
During the pandemic, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been helping retailers to open safely by ensuring they have the appropriate measures in place, as well as working with Basingstoke Together BID, Festival Place and The Malls to ensure the town centre provides a safe and pleasant experience for shoppers.
A number of measures have been put in place including walking on the left hand side of walkways, an increased cleaning schedule of public areas, hand sanitising units and extensive signage reminding shoppers what they need to do.
Following a government grant for activities to support compliance measures to control the spread of COVID-19, the council has been working closely with partners to identify the best use of this funding.
Employed by Venture Security and funded by the council and the BID, the four new COVID marshals will provide a reassuring presence in the town centre and can be identified by their uniforms.
As part of their work, the marshals will remind shoppers to wear face coverings and promote the social distancing measures in place to keep everyone safe. In addition, the marshals will support businesses to ensure they remain COVID-safe with measures such as queuing and one-way systems.
The builds on the work of the council’s community safety patrol officers and will allow them to continue high visibility patrols in other locations across the borough to help educate and encourage residents to follow the latest guidance. This is in addition to the team’s work to provide a reassuring presence and dealing with antisocial behaviour issues.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Borough Development and Improvement Cllr Rebecca Bean said: “We know that keeping up with the latest COVID guidelines can be challenging so it is important that we continue to support visitors and businesses in the town centre.
“I would like to reassure visitors that our shopping areas are ready to welcome you back and our new COVID marshals will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.
“Please continue to follow the measures that we have put in place and be considerate of other visitors. This includes keeping a safe distance from others, washing your hands regularly and wearing a face covering to protect you and other shoppers. We would also encourage shoppers to consider visiting the town centre at times when it is quieter such as during the day and evenings.”
Jane Stewart, Chief Executive of Basingstoke Together, said: "The Rangers are very popular with businesses and visitors to the town centre. They provide reassurance, a friendly welcome, a reminder to all of government guidelines and are on hand to give directions and answer questions. The additional new COVID marshals will reassure our visitors that Basingstoke town centre is a safe place to come and shop in the run up to Christmas and beyond."
For guidance on measures in place when visiting the town centre, please visit www.basingstoke.gov.uk/covid-19-shopping-guidance