With restrictions on non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality easing, Cheshire East Council is preparing for reopening town centres in the borough.
All non-essential retail will reopen from April 12th, as well as restaurants, bars and cafes for outdoor table service only and hair and nail salons, libraries, and gyms.
To support businesses to welcome customers back safely, the council will shortly be launching a public information campaign as well as working with town and parish councils to release European Regional Development Fund support through the ‘Welcome Back Fund.’
To support hospitality businesses, the council has amended its temporary pavement licence, making it free for businesses to apply. The licences, also known as ‘alfresco licences’, are valid until September 2022 and grant permission to set up temporary outside seating to allow for social distancing measures. Information about applying is available here.
Frank Jordan, Cheshire East Council’s executive director for place, said:
We look forward to our town centres and high streets reopening but this must be done in a safe way, given the ongoing pandemic.
“Businesses have already been hit hard and are now having to adapt to what is a very different business landscape, while complying with a number of Covid-safe measures.
“The council’s regulatory services team is continuing to offer guidance and support to businesses regarding the current restrictions put in place by government and I urge them to get in touch if they have any questions or concerns – our officers are here to help.
The council is keen to work in partnership to support Cheshire East’s town centres to thrive and is developing a number of Town Centre Vitality Plans, which will identify potential initiatives to support businesses and the local economy moving forward. Mr Jordan continued:
The aim is to create exciting and vibrant places that increase footfall and activity. This builds on existing plans and projects we have been delivering across the borough.
“In response to the pandemic and in support of our Macclesfield Strategic Regeneration Framework, we’ve also endorsed a Covid-19 recovery plan for Macclesfield, which will see us working with partners to drive forward a positive future for the town.
”Meanwhile, the council is inviting applications for the government’s Restart Grant, having so far paid out more than £134m in grants to Cheshire East businesses to help boost their recovery and rebuild the local economy.
The Restart Grant scheme supports eligible non-essential retail businesses and hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses with one-off grants of up to £18,000 to help them reopen safely. The council’s website holds further details regarding the Restart Grant and how to apply.
The council is also awaiting further details from government on an extra allocation of funding for the Additional Restrictions Grant to allow it to open another round of applications.