Published: 17:51, 12 June 2020
| Updated: 11:10, 16 June 2020
With its narrow pavements and medieval buildings, many will argue that shops situated within the historic town of Sandwich were not built for 21st century social distancing.
But its these limitations that have in fact spurred the town to be extra prepared for the reopening of its non essential shops on Monday.
Determined for its small businesses not to be beaten by the coronavirus pandemic, Sandwich Town Council, together with Sandwich Chamber of Commerce and Sandwich Town Team, has put together a kit to help springboard stores back to life, and also launched a new website.
The free business pack includes a face mask as well as specially designed bright yellow posters to help customers understand the rules within each shop. These include 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 email@example.com for it to be included.
The Mayor of Sandwich Cllr Paul Graeme has also announced that new temporary road closures will be in place to help with social distancing.
He said: "We are aware that being a medieval town many of our shops and pavements make it difficult for to operate 2m social distancing without spilling out in the roads.
"From Monday, Market Street, Delf Street (one-way section outside Fleur De Lis), No Name Street and King Street (section down to St Peter’s Street) will be closed to traffic Monday to Saturday between the hours of 10am and 4pm and we will place the signage and traffic cones in the relevant areas each day.
"Marshalls will be present at No Name Street for the first week to manage essential deliveries to premises within the closed sections of road.
"We hope this will give businesses time to reschedule future deliveries to avoid the 10am to 4pm road closures.
"It is envisaged that the temporary road closures will stay in place whilst the social distancing guidance remains in effect."
A final gesture, to encourage visitors to Sandwich, is the reopening of its public conveniences.
Toilets in both the Cattle Market and the Quay will reopen on Thursday, June 18, but will only be open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to begin with.
Chairman Sandwich Chamber of Commerce, David Shaw, said: "Sandwich is a unique medieval town that has retained its historical charm. The variety of independent shops are a real treasure trove for residents and visitors alike.
"We now face a new type of challenge that the narrow pavements mean we have to make changes to ensure the safety of everyone.
"It is really important that the town of Sandwich really pulls together and works as one to adapt to this new landscape.
"Sandwich thrives on its visitors and we are working towards making Sandwich a “Covid Safe” town to instil confidence in those wanting to visit.
"There is a lot to do and we are working hard to get as many Sandwich businesses operating in a conpliant and safe manner as quickly as possible.
"We have lots of things planned to support every Sandwich business owner during these testing times.
"We welcome feedback from all and for those wanting to get regular updates on the work we are doing we would love them to sign up to our newsletter which details can be found on the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce Facebook page."
To receive a free business pack contact firstname.lastname@example.org