Bira welcomes £50m fund to prepare high streets for shoppers return

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has welcomed a new £50m boost to help local authorities prepare high streets for reopening.

High Streets Minister Simon Clarke announced the fund for councils to help their local high streets get safely back to business earlier this week.

The ‘Reopening High Streets Safely Fund’ will help local authorities in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kick-start economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops.

It will also support a range of practical safety measures including new signs, street markings and temporary barriers. 

This will help get businesses get ready for when they can begin trading safely, not only in high streets and town and city centres, but also in other public spaces such as beachfronts and promenades.

The news comes as Boris Johnson announced that all non-essential retailers will be able to reopen on June 15.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said; “We are pleased about this as it is an issue we consistently raised with the Government – if shops are re-opening, the high street also has to be ready.

“Now we would like to see local authorities work with independent retailers to ensure the money is spent well.”

Earlier this week Goodacre said many independent retailers are ready to reopen now, having already worked hard to put measures in place to keep both customers and staff safe.

He said: “Independent retailers have been preparing to re-open since the idea of opening as of 1 June was first mentioned. Many retailers have measures in place that will keep both employees and customers safe.

“It is therefore a little disappointing for the smaller retailers not to be able to open until 15 June, especially as they can make it safe to do so.”

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