A total of 34 pubs and venues across the city have been granted ‘street café’ licences by the city council to support them in safely reopening from the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
The businesses, in Burslem, Fenton, Hanley and Stoke, have taken part in the ‘street café’ scheme, which has seen the council provide advice, support and licences free of charge, for businesses to have outdoor seating outside their premises.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “Our local businesses are key to our city’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. It’s fantastic that we’ve hit the next milestone on the government’s roadmap and that so many of our much loved and missed businesses are reopening their doors. Before 2020 we used to licence on average 15 street cafés a year, however last year we licensed 36 premises – over double the usual number. The street café scheme has meant that pubs and cafes which may otherwise have remained closed, have been able to open, and our teams have worked hard to support them to do this. And we have gone the extra mile – the licences only usually last a year, but we have extended them by 12 months for those premises that applied last year, and we have done all of this for free, without any charge to businesses.
“Our teams are able to help local businesses in applying for a street café or pavement licence, and are available via firstname.lastname@example.org.”
City council indoor markets are also welcoming back traders and customers this week, and a range of Covid-secure measures are in place for the safety and reassurance of staff, traders and customers.
Hanley Market opened on Monday (12 April), and Longton Market, Stoke Market and Tunstall Market reopened today (14 April). Visitors are encouraged to check the Stoke-on-Trent Markets Facebook page and https://www.stoke.gov.uk/markets for the latest updates and opening times, which may be subject to change. Visitors are also asked to wear face coverings in the markets unless they are exempt, and to practice the ‘hands, face and space’ public health guidance.
Councillor Brown said: “Some of our market traders were able to remain open throughout lockdown as they sold essential goods such as produce. It’s brilliant that some of our traders can begin to reopen their stalls again. City council teams have worked hard to implement Covid-secure measures including regular Covid-19 testing for our markets staff, floor stickers to help customers and staff to maintain social distancing, ventilation and regular cleaning.
“I really encourage residents to shop in our markets – they offer a fantastic range of goods and spending money locally will really help give our economy a boost.”
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, added: “It’s great that the easing of restrictions has enabled many local businesses including local pubs, cafes and markets to reopen. However, I can’t stress enough that Covid-19 is still very much with us and we have to do all we can to protect ourselves and others. The best ways we can do this are by getting tested at least twice a week, regularly washing and sanitising our hands, wearing face coverings in indoor public places, continuing to keep a two-meter distance from people outside of our households and support bubbles, and only meeting up in groups of six or as two households outdoors.
“Getting our local economy back up and running is a key part of our recovery plan, but we must not become complacent. We must all keep doing our bit to stop the spread of this dreadful virus.”
Residents are also being welcomed back to city libraries. Stoke-on-Trent Libraries are reopening some facilities in line with the new government guidance. Under the ‘open access’ scheme, visitors will have more access to browse and borrow books from the shelves, use a PC and use the photocopier.
From Monday, 12 April 2021 Open Access is now allowing visitors to browse and borrow books and use a PC at City Central Library and Stoke Library.
From Monday, 19 April 2021 Open Access will allow visitors to browse and borrow books and use a PC at Tunstall Library.
From Monday 26, April 2021 Open Access will allow visitors to browse and borrow books and use a PC at Longton Library.
Bentilee Library and Meir Library will continue to offer Click, Call and Collect. Click, Call and Collect will also continue to be offered at all of the other libraries.
The libraries will be operating temporarily reduced hours when they reopen. Please check the opening hours before you visit or call via www.stoke.gov.uk/libraryopening.
Councillor Brown said: “It’s great that our libraries services are beginning to restart again, and our teams are working hard to open more of the services and ensure you feel safe and reassured when visiting. Visitors are reminded to wear a face covering if they are not exempt.
“Please also be assured that the successful Click, Call and Collect programme is still available at all of our libraries – you can order books online via www.stoke.gov.uk/clickcallcollect or call our libraries and then a member of staff will arrange a day and time for you to collect your books.”
The seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in the city is now 54.6 per 100,000 people, for the week Friday, 2 April – Thursday, 8 April 2021. This is a decrease of 9.7 per cent on the previous seven days. The percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is 2.1 per cent.
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing said: “Although these rates are steady, we still need to bring them down. We remain as one of the two highest testing local authorities across the West Midlands. We can drive these rates down by practicing hands, face and space and only gathering as groups of six or as two households outdoors. Being outside in the fresh air is known to decrease the risk of transmitting Covid-19.
“We also need to make sure we are all getting tested at least twice a week – this should be a normal part of our lives and there are plenty of ways we can all get tested. You can get a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) if you have no symptoms of coronavirus and get the results within 30 minutes. Tests are free and can be booked at one of our community testing centres. Anybody can now also pick up two tests per week to take at home from one of our Community Collect venues, and tests can also be accessed via some local pharmacies and via home delivery.”
A full list of community locations and booking options and a range of locations, dates and times are available on our website via www.stoke.gov.uk/bookacovid19test.
Eleven community testing sites are now offering these kits for collection. Our staff are trained and on hand to help you and they are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have and to talk you through how to use these tests. You can find out more details about the community collect venues which offer this via https://www.stoke.gov.uk/communitycollect
If testing at home, residents will need to register their results online or by calling 119. They should self-isolate if positive and order a confirmatory PCR test within 48 hours of a positive LFT.
You can also collect home testing kits from pharmacies. You can find out more about where you can collect them by going to https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk.
If you cannot collect a home test kit from a community testing site or pharmacy, you can order them online by going to https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.
If you have one of the three main symptoms then you are not eligible for lateral flow testing. You should instead book a test through https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test, or by calling 119.
For all media enquiries please contact Andrew Brunt in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.
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