Cautious reopening for lockdown-hit businesses

July 29 2020
Cautious reopening for lockdown-hit businesses

AFTER weeks of enforced closure, home working or emergency appointments, businesses in many of the sectors worst affected by the lockdown are reopening.

Coronavirus measures are in place with new rules, timed appointments and personal protective equipment becoming normal.

Eastwood Park (below), a venue known for holding conferences and social events, is now able to hold wedding viewings and 'micro-ceremonies' can go ahead. It has also hosted residential training courses for keyworkers. NHS engineers were able to attend technical training in reduced numbers and had to follow measures such as social distancing, using separate entrances and exits and a one-way system inside the building which has also been cleaned more frequently.

A spokesperson said: “Although it is unknown now when conferences and large ‘social gatherings’ will be allowed to take place once again, when this day does come, Eastwood Park will be somewhat ahead of the game having already been through comprehensive preparations for its NHS guests.”

The venue has been awarded the We’re Good to Go certificate by Visit England because it meets the COVID-19 requirements for the hospitality industry.

In Thornbury town centre, Debra Caherty manages Style Shoes on the High Street, which opened last year but had to close during the ban on non-essential shop openings.

She said: “We have been very pleased to see familiar faces returning to our store and would like to thank all our customers for their support during these strange times.

"Our store is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and all government guidelines are being followed, sanitiser is provided along with gloves if required. We are still able to provide that personal experience as we allow a maximum of three people inside at a time.”

At the Thornbury Clinic, staff disinfect rooms between patients and wear full PPE. There is no receptionist, and with staggered appointments clients sit in the reception area alone. Towels are put in a separate bag and sent off to be washed at over 60C.

The clinic was initially only able to hold emergency appointments, but more recently has been able to offer all appointments including massage.

Clinical lead Guy Oldring says he is “blessed” that his staff are “passionate about that they do”.

Thornbury’s independent estate agent, Bonds, is now offering timed appointments in the office in the morning only, for just one family at a time.

Owner Rowena Moncrieffe said: “We haven’t got a massive office, we have literally taken desks and chairs out to maintain social distancing.”

Property viewings are now possible with distancing measures in place.

Rowena said: “We’ve got PPE and if a property is occupied, we say we have it and we tend to put it on, but we will also ask them to go out.

"We ask people we’re showing round not to touch anything. Most people have been really good.

"Some days are busier than others.The stamp duty holiday has helped; it’s a good time to buy.

"People are now looking for properties with gardens and they’ve realised that they do need a bit more space for this ‘new normal’.”