Islanders have been praised for supporting local business by sticking to the guidelines during the first week of restrictions being eased.
From last Monday residents could visit more shops, use personal services like hairdressers and have food and drink served to them outside.
The Isle of Wight Council’s Regulatory Services team, including the Covid support officers, have worked closely with local businesses throughout the pandemic. They have been impressed with how businesses and the public have adapted to the new changes.
Briscoe: Major investments in time and money
Rachel Briscoe, business regulation and public protection team manager, said,
“A key part of our role is checking in with businesses and making sure they are operating Covid-safely and within the guidelines. We support and answer any questions they may have.
“Getting prepared to reopen has been a massive challenge for local businesses that have been closed for months. We have seen major investments in time and money to enable them to welcome people back safely.
“The vast majority of Islanders have been sensible and cautious when visiting establishments — but with the virus still very much in the community, we need people to carry on with this approach.”
Tough for local high street traders
“It’s been tough for the local high street traders throughout the whole pandemic and it is important to support local businesses, now more than ever.
“When people shop locally, they are not just supporting their favourite store, or market stall but the whole Island economy.”
Video featuring IW businesses
To celebrate the reopening of high streets, the council has produced a video to welcome back residents in a safe and inviting way.
The short film highlights the efforts two local businesses — The Lifeboat, East Cowes, and No 66 Cards and Gifts, Ryde — have made to make sure their premises are Covid-secure and issues a rallying call for people to support their local shops and communities.
Islanders are being encouraged to share the video as widely as possible to encourage people to be safe when they’re visiting Island businesses.
MacLeod: Really looking forward to welcoming customers
Sue MacLeod, of No 66 Cards and Gifts, explained some of the measures they’ve put in place to ensure the safety of their customers and staff.
“It’s so exciting to be open again. As you come in we ask you to put on your mask, to use the NHS Covid-19 App and to sanitise your hands — all at the door.
“Once you get to the counter there is a Perspex screen to keep you safe and the member of staff serving you.
“This summer we’re really looking forward to welcoming customers, old and new, into No 66.”
IW has third lowest rate in England
The latest rate of new cases of Covid-19 on the Isle of Wight is 8.5 per 100,000 population, the third lowest rate in England.
Simon Bryant, the council’s director of public health, said our actions, no matter how small, would have a real impact on making sure this remained the case.
“Think Covid-safe and continue with hands, face, space and ventilate.
“As hospitality venues begin to open up, everyone using them should provide their names and contact details. If you have a smartphone it’s easy to do this by downloading the NHS Covid-19 App and scanning the premises’ QR code
“This is really important in halting the spread of the virus.”
Up to date information about testing and details of all the support on offer for residents and businesses is available at www.keeptheislandsafe.org
News shared by Isle of Wight council press office, in their own words. Ed