Returning to your local high street – frequently asked questions

Following government guidelines, many of Monmouthshire’s shops will be re-opening from Monday 22nd June and they need your support.

Most shops and high streets across the county have been closed since the government introduced lockdown measures in order to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

Now that restrictions have started to be relaxed, shoppers are able to return to their local high streets. This is vital for shop owners, who need Monmouthshire residents to help get their businesses back on their feet by shopping locally. 

But as the threat of the virus has not passed yet, Monmouthshire County Council, together with town councils, has been working with local businesses and organisations to ensure that people can keep safe while they’re out and about. 

We recently ran a residents’ survey and have taken on board the ideas and concerns raised. Below you will find some FAQs that tackle many of the points raised.  

Are the town and village centres open? 

Yes. Non-essential retail will be able to reopen from Monday 22nd June.

Which businesses will re-open from Monday 22nd June

Shops that may reopen include those that sell clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books and electronics. Tailors and photography studios may open if it is safe to do so as well. 

Businesses will only be able to open if they are confident about managing the risks and are able to follow the Welsh Government’s Covid19 advice [link to Welsh advice https://gov.wales/taking-all-reasonable-measures-maintain-physical-distancing-workplace  

Which businesses will still be closed?  

Cafes, restaurants and all bars, including pubs, clubs and nightclubs are closed unless they are offering a take-away service. The same applies to hairdressers and beauty salons, and leisure facilities like standard cinemas and theatres. Accommodation providers are also required to remain closed. Once Welsh Government has confirmed reopening dates for these businesses we will update this information.  

What are you doing to keep people safe? 

Monmouthshire County Council has been working with Town Councils and Community Councils across the county. Work is underway and will continue over the coming weeks to implement various measures on the high street designed to help shoppers stay safe: stencilled pavement markings, some barriers and signs around busy areas, including bus stops, helping people to observe social-distancing.  

Where enlarged pedestrian areas are provided, existing kerblines will be painted red to assist the visually impaired with knowing there is a level drop. 

The measures being introduced will vary according to each town, according to its layout and facilities. 

We’ve worked with businesses across the area to offer support, guidance and resources on how to keep customers safe. We are also providing distance markers and signage for local businesses to use, as well as the most up-to-date guidance from Welsh Government and Public Health Wales. 

Will car parks be open? 

We recommend cycling or walking to your high street whenever possible. However, council-run car-parks are open. Each of our towns and villages has at least one free car park close to the town centre, for example Byefield car park in Abergavenny, the southern end of the leisure centre car park in Chepstow, and Rockfield Road in Monmouth.   

When using the ticket machines, please keep your distance from others when waiting to pay.  The machines will be cleaned frequently, however customers may wish to use their own sanitiser if they are concerned. 

What toilets will be open? Where can we wash our hands? 

Many public toilets will be open, and these have full hand-washing facilities available. Some toilets will remain closed while we make changes to ensure they are safe for public use. 

Please wash your hands regularly, before you leave home and when you get back. If you know you are likely to use a public toilet, make sure to carry your own hand sanitiser and gels. 

How will shops manage their queues outside? 

Some shops will have staff members greet customers to explain the social distancing measures inside, and manage how many customers can come in. Businesses will also manage any queue that forms and stop people from joining if their space limit is reached. 

Can I travel by bus? 

If you need to travel on public transport, avoid peak times.  

Please remember to maintain social distancing while waiting for a bus. Many bus stops will have stencilled markings and signs helping people to observe social-distancing. We also recommend using contactless payment whenever possible. 

Check out our Active Travel pages for more information. https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/monmouthshire-active-travel/  

Will shops and businesses be following the latest government guidance? 

All businesses that plan to open, including those that are already open, must follow and stick to COVID-19 secure guidelines  

Businesses will only be able to open once they have completed a risk assessment, consulting with trade unions or directly with their workers. 

Will emergency vehicles be able to get into key areas? 

All measures being implemented have been shared with the emergency services. Full access will be maintained for their vehicles, so they are able to respond to any emergency as they would normally do.  

We will be adapting plans as we go forward, based on feedback we would still love to hear your ideas, submit your ideas by using the chat icon the bottom right of this page or message us on Facebook messenger.