‘Buy local’ message to residents as shops prepare to re-open

Published: Friday, June 5, 2020

Market traders and shops across Wandsworth are getting ready to set out their stalls for business over the next few weeks, following the government’s green light to re-open in June.

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Safe shopping: St John's Road in SW11

Wandsworth Council and business associations are helping local retailers to put in place strict measures to keep staff and customers safe once premises are allowed to re-open.

Outdoor markets such as Hildreth Market in Balham and car showrooms are now able to re-open with social distancing in place as the risk of virus transmission is lower in outdoor spaces.

High streets across the borough will really start to come to life from 15 June as non-essential retailers can open their doors to customers if they have followed the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers.

This includes clothes and shoe shops, toy shops, all furniture stores, booksellers and electronics retailers, as well as tailors, auction houses, photography studios and indoor markets.

Wandsworth Council is working together with local business improvement districts, associations and the Wandsworth Chamber to help retailers prepare for opening the doors again, providing advice on safety and best practice and making sure businesses are aware of the need for risk assessments as part of their planning before they can open. More space is also being provided for shoppers and queues in busy areas.

Creating a safe environment

Councillor Jonathan Cook, Wandsworth Council’s Cabinet member for economic development, skills and employment, said: “This is a crucial stage for businesses as they work out how they can deliver their services in the safest way for everyone. They want their customers to feel safe when shopping and they want their staff to be secure when working.

“We are talking to businesses all the time, listening to their concerns and helping them understand the government guidance and how they need to apply it to their operation.

“The council is working closely with shops and businesses to create a safe environment on our local high streets so that customers can shop confidently in the knowledge that everything is being done to stop the spread of the virus whilst the local economy gets going again. We’re helping businesses check what they need to do and display a COVID-secure poster in their premises to show they’re following the rules.”

Find local retailers

As businesses prepare to welcome customers with new measures in place, the council is encouraging residents to shop locally and support their local high streets and retailers as they get back on their feet.

During the coronavirus lockdown, many people enjoyed the convenience of shopping in their local neighbourhood and discovering unique products from local retailers.

The council has now teamed up with My Virtual Neighbourhood to launch My Virtual Wandsworth which helps residents to find retailers across the borough selling everything from craft beer and fresh fruit to goalkeeping gloves, or where to book a much-needed haircut in advance or online theatre training.

'Nominate businesses still trading'

Basil Fansa, founder of My Virtual Neighbourhood, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Wandsworth Council to help residents access supplies and to promote the incredible resilience of local businesses – many have adapted really quickly to continuing serving their community. 

“I’d urge locals to use the website to nominate businesses which are still trading so we can make this local resource as comprehensive as possible. Independent businesses bring so much character to our high streets and do enormous good for the local economy – it’s great to see Wandsworth Council supporting them in this way.”

If you’re planning to re-open your business in June, check the council’s safety guidance and advice for businesses.