Support your high street as shops reopen in Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 16:37 18 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:37 18 June 2020

Town Centre BID manager Mariana Bitonte, PCSO Bill McCaskie, PC Ross Freeman, BID ambassador Naomi Donovan with the new team of WGC ambassadors, Dan, Abby and Ian.

Town Centre BID manager Mariana Bitonte, PCSO Bill McCaskie, PC Ross Freeman, BID ambassador Naomi Donovan with the new team of WGC ambassadors, Dan, Abby and Ian.

Archant

As Welwyn Garden City shops get ready to re-open, they need your support more than ever.

Lamberts Flower Company have reopenedLamberts Flower Company have reopened

Welwyn Garden City shops have re-opened their doors this week for the first time in three months as lockdown restrictions continue to be eased. Non-essential shops and businesses in the town centre have been working together to ensure a safe shopping experience for all those visiting over the next few weeks.

To help local businesses get back on their feet safely, a range of safety measures have been put in place to protect staff and customers. The businesses, working with the Welwyn Garden City BID, have employed street ambassadors who will support businesses and visitors in following the new social distancing rules. Hand sanitising stations will be available throughout the town and in some instances, you may need to queue for a short while if customer numbers are reached within a shop.

Local businesses have been working hard with the WGC BID, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, the police and other partners to protect shoppers from the spread of the virus and follow the latest government public guidance. The measures will be regularly monitored and reviewed if necessary.

It’s been a tough few months for our local economy and shops such as Lamberts Flower Company are looking forward to seeing their regular customers again. Its director Paul Gibson said: “We really hope to be able to recover quickly and to continue to serve our wonderful customers. We need people’s support more than ever. Please, if you can, try to shop local. Every pound spent in our local shops helps create jobs which will ultimately be the key to our town centre’s survival.”

BID chairman and Waitrose manager OJ Daya with Marks & Spencer manager Navin HaldanBID chairman and Waitrose manager OJ Daya with Marks & Spencer manager Navin Haldan

Shops that opened this week include The Works, Three, H&M, Snappy Snaps and Messages to name a few. They are joining those that have already been able to open such as estate agents Wrights, Putterills, Ashtons, William H Brown and Martin & Co.

The town’s leisurely café culture has now become takeaway and you won’t struggle to find good coffee with Starbucks soon joining the already open Nero, Café Trio and Ashley Charles; a hairdresser turned pop up coffee shop proving just how innovative our businesses can be.

The Howard Centre has also opened with some changes, like a one-way system, limited numbers on lifts and customers will be asked to say five steps apart on the escalators.

Steven Andrews, store manager at Three in the Howard Centre said: “We have implemented a virtual queuing system for our customers. Once they have spoken to one of our hosts, we text them to let them know when they’re next in the queue saving them waiting outside.”

Welwyn Garden City BID's welcome back posterWelwyn Garden City BID's welcome back poster

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Anthony Clements from Future Gifts, which opened a few weeks ago to sell essential items said: “It has been heart-warming to see our regular customers showing their support, it means a lot and shows the collective spirit is as strong as ever.”

Opening today (Thursday June 18) is John Lewis and Partners, who have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure the shopping experience remains an enjoyable one – whilst keeping people safe. Entry to the store is by the grand entrance on Bridge Road opposite The Campus. Sanitiser is available on entry and at points throughout the store. Social distancing is marked with signs and stickers on the floors and tills are spaced out for the safety of customers and partners alike.

WGC BID manager Mariana Bitonte said: “I am so proud of our local businesses who have shown amazing resilience and adapted throughout this crisis. We are all in this together, the BID has worked alongside businesses to ensure all the safety measures are observed, we are bringing in extra street ambassadors to help throughout the first few weeks, we have set up sanitising stations throughout the town and we have provided businesses with floor stickers, hand sanitiser and Perspex screens. I know the people of Welwyn Garden City will support their local businesses, we have an amazing community and in our town’s hundredth year we will come through this together.”

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council have also been working in partnership with the BID to support businesses, Cllr Bernard Sarson, executive member for Regeneration, Economic Development & Partnerships, said: “As a recently retired business owner, I understand how difficult the last few months have been. With the easing of lockdown, we’re committed to rebuilding our local economy while keeping people safe. We’re offering businesses a wide range support, from online training to help with risk assessments and implementing control measures to advice on accessing the financial help available. Our team of experts are here to help guide businesses through the process, ensuring they get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”

Opening hours may be slightly different than the usual so please check before making a trip.

Win £100 to spend in town centre

Welwyn Garden City BID are giving shoppers the chance to win £100 to spend in the town centre.

All you have to do is take a picture in town with your purchase and tag your favourite shop and @wonderful_wgc on Instagram or @wonderfulwgc on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #ProudToShopWGC

Winner will be picked at random. Deadline is July 31. Terms and conditions apply.


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