SILHILLIANS have been encouraged to return to the town centre by the leader of Solihull Council – following his previous words of caution about social distancing.
Visitor numbers this week have inevitably been way down on pre-coronavirus levels.
Councillor Ian Courts said today it was vital for local businesses that shoppers came back to the high street.
He said: “Our town centres are now open again for non-essential shopping, and I encourage people to shop local – to paraphrase a national campaign, ‘shop like your local high street depends on it, because it does’.
“Not only are our local centres more convenient, but using them will also reduce non-essential journeys.
“In the coming weeks we will continue to work with our local town centre retailers to help them get back on their feet.”
He said he was still worried about reports of people not observing social distancing rules.
Last week, he advised shoppers to think about whether trips were needed and whether they could go alone, while warning of queues and ‘enforced social distancing’ in stores.
He said today: “We have worked hard with retailers to pass on the guidance about how to open in a Covid-safe manner, just as we have with businesses about re-opening offices and workplaces.
“I understand the guidance is being followed indoors. There seems to be a problem in the busier town centres, on the pavements and public spaces.
“We will keep an eye on this, especially in Solihull, where footfall has increased markedly – in case there is anything more we can do.”
Last week, he said in a newsletter, as we reported: “The majority of people across the country have not had Covid-19, and so remain at risk. Managing this crisis is all about managing risk.
“Social distancing is crucial to stopping the virus spreading, and the more people you have contact with, the more you risk being exposed to the virus.
“… If you need to visit Solihull, Knowle, Shirley or Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre, do be prepared for enforced social distancing and inevitable queuing.
“It would help if you shop alone or as with as few people from your household as possible, and please be considerate to shop keepers and assistants as the social distancing rules will mean shopping may take longer!”