Frequently asked questions
What rules do I need to know before visiting the high street?
As a shopper, you are able to visit the high street freely but must not socialise with anyone outside your household indoors (including in cafes and restaurants) or with more than six people in total outside. You must wear a mask inside business premises (unless you are exempt) and must keep 2 metres apart from those outside your household as far as is possible. We would also strongly encourage shoppers to observe indoor and outdoor signage to keep safe.
Are there other ways in which I can help to make my premises safer as a business owner?
When and where do I have to wear a face covering or mask?
What rules do I need to know before re-opening my premises as a business owner?
What is the We Are Back initiative?
What is meant by “re-opening high streets”?
Are other retail businesses and local parades included?
Whilst the We Are Back initiative is primarily aimed at the larger centres of Rochford, Rayleigh and Hockley, where the footfall and density is greatest, the We Are Back initiative is also providing support to local parades including Golden Cross, Hullbridge and Great Wakering.
What support is available to businesses through the We Are Back initiative?
What other support is available to high street businesses and other retailers?
Will physical changes be made to the high streets in response to COVID?
We are working hard to consider what physical changes may be needed to ensure that visitors to the high streets can safely social distance and shop with confidence. As an interim measure we will be putting up signs and directions to encourage visitors to follow social distancing rules and safer pedestrian paths, including discouraging two-way use of narrower sections of footway and alleyway. We are exploring the introduction of more permanent changes or traffic management measures where these are justified and feasible.
How can I make my trip to the high street safer?
Do not travel to the high street if you have any COVID symptoms
Maintain a 2 metre distance from those outside your household
Follow signs and instructions provided on the street and in stores wherever possible
Practice safe queuing by not joining queues where it would block the footway
Avoid handling products whilst browsing, if at all possible
Use digital means of payment where available
Wear a face covering if using public transport
Consider bringing your own face coverings and hand gel with you to the high street
If you are intending to use Rochford District Council run car parks, download the ‘Pay by Phone’ app on your phone in advance
Will public car parks be open when I visit?
All Rochford District Council owned car parks are open. Please note charges are in place and will be enforced. While the purchase of a ticket using cash will be possible, it is strongly advised that the PayByPhone payment option is used to avoid queuing and contact with coins and the ticket machines. More information on how to pay by phone is available at: www.rochford.gov.uk/parking-and-travel
Will the markets be operating?
Both Rochford and Rayleigh markets are now operating in their usual locations (on a Tuesday and Wednesday respectively). Please note that in the interests of public safety both markets are currently operating at reduced capacity with fewer stalls than normal. The capacity of these markets may be allowed to increase over time where it is safe to do so.
Will public toilets be operating?
What time is best to visit?
We are encouraging visitors to consider travelling to the high street at quieter times to help reduce any risks of overcrowding. We expect the high streets to be busiest between 10am and 11am, and around lunchtime.
How far do I need to keep apart from other households?
When can my business re-open?
We expect non-essential retail, hair and beauty, libraries and gyms to be able to re-open their doors from the 12th April 2021. Also on this date, hospitality businesses including cafes and restaurants will be able to welcome outdoor customers on a table service only basis.
From 17thMay 2021, we hope that hospitality businesses will be able to start serving customers indoors, however this will depend on Government monitoring of the rate of COVID infections closer to that time.
Nightclubs are likely to remain closed until 21stJune 2021, when all remaining restrictions are expected to be lifted.
More information on the Government’s roadmap can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021
Are there grants available to support the re-opening of my business?
The Government has announced in its budget that it will provide ‘Restart Grants’ of up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses and up to £18,000 per premises for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses, giving them the cash certainty they need to plan ahead and safely relaunch trading over the coming months.
The Council is awaiting guidance from Government before it can provide this funding.
Businesses are advised to check the Council’s website regularly where information will be published as soon as a launch date is known.