Residents and visitors have been welcomed back to the city centre and surrounding areas as businesses reopened this week following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
Non-essential retail, hairdressers, indoor leisure and sports facilities, libraries and public buildings are among the venues that are now allowed to reopen as part of Step 2 of the Government’s lockdown roadmap.
Outdoor hospitality venues including pubs and cafés have also been able to reopen with table service only.
So far, 44 cafés, pubs, bars and restaurants across the B&NES area have pavement licences for outdoor tables and chairs, approved under streamlined Covid-19 regulations. This is alongside the existing tables and chairs licences.
Visitors to the centre of Bath will also be able to see the ‘Little Lost Robot’ window art installation at 17/18 Milsom Street.
The display combines visual art and sculpture and robotics and is a collaboration between local artists, Bath Spa University, Bath Carnival and the council.
From 17th May, the space will also become a temporary residency and pop-up exhibition space for Bath Spa University.
The council will also shortly be setting up a ‘High Street Hub’ at 15 Cheap Street to provide business support and advice and to provide a base for its High Street renewal activities in Bath City Centre.
Bath & North East Somerset Council has provided additional outdoor seating by installing parklets at Kingsmead Square and Milsom Street.
Officers in the council’s Public Protection team will be carrying out visits and checks in the coming weeks to make sure people are complying with the Step 2 guidance and to help businesses achieve compliance with the requirements. There will also be additional Covid safety officers in town centres.
Councillor Richard Samuel, acting Leader, said: “It’s more important than ever to support the businesses that are local to us.
“We are working with retail and hospitality to safely welcome people back into Bath, Keynsham and Midsomer Norton as well as our beloved local high streets and village shops embedded in our communities.
“There is plenty of support for safety and social distancing, and new outside seating, all of which I hope will reassure people that they can have a safe and enjoyable day out.
“Our case rates in Bath and North East Somerset are among the lowest in the South West which is very reassuring as we take the next step to greater freedoms.
“Please remember that we should all be taking a rapid Covid test twice a week even if no symptoms are present. Let’s stay on track and continue to follow all the guidance to keep each other safe.”
All members of a group of six visiting a pub or restaurant for a drink or meal will need to check-in to the outdoor section of the venue using the QR code.
This is a change to the previous tier system where only the person making the booking had to give their contact details.
Retail premises are now permitted to open until 10pm Monday to Saturday to enable people to shop at quieter times.