Welcome back

As the commercial heart of city starts to wake up, B&NES has announced its intention to set up a business support hub as part of its on-going lockdown-easing activities.

Non-essential retail, hairdressers, indoor leisure and sports facilities, libraries and public buildings, are among the venues permitted to reopen as lockdown eases in Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap.

Outdoor hospitality venues including pubs and cafés can also reopen with table service only. So far 44 cafés, pubs, bars and restaurants in B&NES have pavement licences for outdoor tables and chairs, approved under streamlined Covid-19 regulations. This is alongside the existing tables and chairs licences.

‘Little Lost Robot’ window art installation at 17/18 Milsom Street in Bath. Credit: Justin Towell

Visitors to Bath city centre will also be able to see the ‘Little Lost Robot’ window art installation at 17/18 Milsom Street, which combines visual art and sculpture and robotics and is a collaboration between local artists, Bath Spa University, Bath Carnival and the council.

From May 17th the space will also become a temporary residency and pop-up exhibition space for Bath Spa University.

The council will also shortly be setting up a ‘High Street Hub’ at 15 Cheap Street to provide business support and advice and to provide a base for its High Street renewal activities in Bath City Centre.

The council has provided additional outdoor seating by installing parklets at Kingsmead Square and Milsom Street in Bath, with parklets at Milsom Street due to be re-installed this week following the street’s resurfacing and refresh in advance of Step 2 reopening.

These are the sort of ‘parklets’ that will be re-installed in Milsom Street.

From today, some of the rules on what people can and cannot do have changed but the council is reminding residents and visitors to continue to follow social distancing and hands, face space. Face coverings still need to be worn inside shops and venues and on public transport.

Officers in the council’s Public Protection team will be carrying out visits and checks in coming weeks to make sure people are complying with the Step 2 guidance and to help businesses achieve compliance with the requirements. There will also be additional Covid safety officers in town centres.

Everyone in England is now encouraged to take a free rapid Covid test twice a week, including those without symptoms.

Councillor Richard Samuel, acting Leader, said: “It’s more important than ever to support the businesses that are local to us. We are working with retail and hospitality to safely welcome people back into Bath, Keynsham and Midsomer Norton as well as our beloved local high streets and village shops embedded in our communities. There is plenty of support for safety and social distancing, and new outside seating, all of which I hope will reassure people that they can have a safe and enjoyable day out.

“Our case rates in Bath and North East Somerset are among the lowest in the South West which is very reassuring as we take the next step to greater freedoms. Please remember that we should all be taking a rapid Covid test twice a week even if no symptoms are present. Let’s stay on track and continue to follow all the guidance to keep each other safe.”

Home Covid-19 test kits can be ordered for home delivery or find a local test site here. Rapid Covid-19 test sites also offer collection of home test kits and soon community pharmacies will offer this service. Find your local pick up site here: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should book a test online or call 119.

All members of a group of six visiting a pub or restaurant for a drink or meal will need to make sure that they all check-in to the outdoor section of the venue using the QR code. This is a change to the previous tier system where only the person making the booking had to give their contact details.

Retail premises are now permitted to open until 10pm Monday to Saturday to enable people to shop at quieter times.

The Bath BID’s Welcome to Bath website shows what businesses are open so they can shop local and the Bath Gift Card is accepted at businesses across the city.

Visit the council’s dedicated webpage for updates on coronavirus.