Published: 06:00, 26 June 2020
An online survey has found that 90% of businesses in Sandwich support the temporary road closures put in place to help springboard shops back to life.
Following the government's announcement that non-essential stores could reopen on June 15, a special 'Sandwich Is Open' strategy was put together.
Part of the plans which are aimed at attracting shoppers into the town and enabling them to socially distance meant that road closures were needed.
Therefore since then Market Street, Delf Street (one-way section outside Fleur De Lis), No Name Street and King Street (section down to St Peter’s Street) have been closed to traffic from Monday to Saturday between the hours of 10am and 4pm with signage and traffic cones in place.
Resident Kath Gifford has spoken out against the measure, which she believes has put people off visiting the town.
She said: "Who in their right mind decided to close four streets in Sandwich?
"It didn't increase the number of shoppers- in fact people stayed away. One hour free parking would increase footfall. They have it in St James, Dover, so why not Sandwich?"
But Sandwich Town Council disagree having undertaken an online survey which received 200 responses.
A statement said: "The temporary road closures have been successful with over 90% of businesses in the town in support of these measures."
Sandwich Chamber of Commerce has also taken further steps to promote small business in the town by handing out free business packs.
They include a face mask as well as specially designed bright yellow posters to help customers understand the rules within each shop.
They state the changes to opening hours, how many people are allowed inside the premises at once and instructions about payments.
New website sandwichisopen.co.uk is aimed at being a one stop shop for business information as the town adjusts to changes.
Businesses are encouraged to send information to firstname.lastname@example.org for it to be included.
President Paul Graeme said: "The Chamber of Commerce have worked tirelessly and speedily to produce an extremely useful business pack to assist all business in Sandwich reopen and stay safely socially distance,.
"The response to the pack has been successful.
"Sandwich also intends to invite each and every business to become accredited as Covid-19 safe and the Council and Chamber of Commerce are working on this next step."
Sandwich is Open was designed by Sandwich Town Council, Sandwich Chamber of Commerce, Sandwich Town Team, Dover District Council and Kent County Council following the High Street Recovery Fund initiative by the government.