Shoppers encouraged to stay safe as lockdown eases

Welwyn Garden City town centre

Welwyn Garden City town centre - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Shops and businesses in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield town centres welcomed back customers yesterday for non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality, leisure and personal care.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and WGC Business Improvement District are encouraging people to shop locally and safely, and are supporting businesses to reopen by providing hand sanitiser, social distancing materials and guidance on operating in a COVID-secure way.

While many will have defaulted to using large online retailers during lockdown, supporting local businesses creates jobs, makes the borough a better place to live and work and creates a healthy economy.

Chief executive of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Ka Ng.

Chief executive of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Ka Ng. - Credit: WHBC

Ka Ng, chief executive of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, said: "I’d like to thank residents for continuing to support their local high street and helping businesses get back on their feet.

"We want our businesses to stay open so it’s just as important we take this next step safely. This means continuing to be patient with one another, giving each other space and practicing good hygiene until we’ve beaten COVID-19 for good.”

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COVID marshals will be out and about in both town centres to talk with people and make sure they understand the importance of following safety measures.

Hatfield town centre welcomed back shoppers on April 12

Hatfield town centre welcomed back shoppers on April 12 - Credit: Kevin Lines

Mandy Boxer, chair of the Hatfield Traders Association, said: “It’s going to be a tough year ahead but we’re certain that our town can recover.

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"We need to work on gaining back our customers who may have changed how they shop throughout the lockdown, but Hatfield has a fantastic community spirit and we’re confident that people will shop local to support their town and small businesses. We look forward to welcoming you back through our doors. Please shop local.”

OJ Daya, chair of Welwyn Garden City BID

OJ Daya, chair of Welwyn Garden City BID - Credit: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

OJ Daya, chair of the WGC BID said: “This lockdown has been tough on our local economy. The WGC BID has worked together with the local businesses to ensure a safe reopening of the town.

"We have employed extra BID Ambassadors to support businesses and members of the public feel safe when they return to the town.

"We have all missed seeing our customers and are looking forward to getting back to normal. We need your support more than ever.”

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