In preparation for non-essential retail re-opening on Wednesday 2 December, Portsmouth City Council has been working closely with shopping centres, big retailers and Hampshire Constabulary to make sure the high street is as safe as it can be for Christmas shoppers.
Those stores expecting to attract the biggest queues have been working with the council to agree how to manage it safely and are committing staff to manage the queues for their stores. Customers for Cascades will again be asked to queue and use the entrance by Next and Starbucks in Charlotte Street. Primark customers will also be asked to queue in Charlotte Street.
Council officers, community wardens and Hampshire Constabulary will all be on hand during the first week of re-opening to help residents to shop safely. In addition, HIVE Portsmouth are providing volunteer festive retail marshals to help guide people to queues, first aid points and toilets.
Residents are encouraged to plan their journey, walk or cycle whenever possible and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. However to help support businesses, the council will give an extra hour free when one hour of parking is purchased in Ashby Place (Southsea), Clarence Street (city centre), Stubbington Avenue (North End) and Wooton Street (Cosham) during December.
Cllr Steve Pitt, the council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, said: “Once again we are committed to supporting a safe re-opening of businesses in the city and will be working closely with retailers to make sure they are managing their queues to make it as safe as possible for everyone using the high street.
“We are anticipating a high level of demand in the first week of re-opening and have staff on hand to monitor any safety issues. I’m really pleased that HIVE Portsmouth are supporting the city by providing some festive volunteers to help Christmas shoppers have a safe experience when they visit Portsmouth.
“There are still several weeks until Christmas so we advise residents to wait until the initial demand has reduced before visiting the busier shops if possible. Remember there are lots of smaller, independent businesses across the city who really need your support and lots of festive offers in our virtual high street at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/gochristmas. Please stay safe and help Protect Portsmouth.”
Portsmouth has been placed in Tier Two because the virus continues to pose a significant risk to local people. The actions taken now will influence how Portsmouth will move through the tiered restrictions.
Shoppers are reminded to follow the latest government guidelines around social distancing both when queuing and shopping, and to wear face coverings in shops, unless exempt. Residents should keep two metres from anyone outside of their household or support bubble when in enclosed spaces. If anyone in a household is experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus – no matter how mild – they should stay home and request a test.
Advice on safe re-opening, latest Government guidance and grant schemes for Portsmouth business can be found at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/businesssupport Businesses can also call the council’s dedicated coronavirus business support helpline on 023 9284 1641 or email RegenerationAdminTeam@portsmouthcc.gov.uk Any concerns about a business operating unsafely can be reported at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirussecurityreporting