Cllr Paul Bettison, OBE, Leader of Bracknell Forest Council, said:
More businesses are now beginning to open in our towns and retail areas. This week, The Lexicon will see more than 35 shops open for business. Our local market will also be extending their offer with more vendors on site. This milestone has been achieved through the partnership working between the council and The Lexicon to put in place social distancing and hygiene measures. If you choose to visit the town centre over the coming weeks, you will find new signage, floor markings, sanitisers and queue management in place, all vital to keep our community safe.
Where shops had previously been unable to open, our town centre has proven to be a valuable hub in our response to coronavirus. We have supported it to host the visiting mobile testing unit and the council has worked closely with partners to use the space for community food distribution. The strength of the town centre for serving our communities needs has been clear and we look forward to it further growing.
We have also been supporting wider businesses to be ready for the hugely different landscape they will now be operating in. To do this, we have been working with experts at the Local Enterprise Partnership and sharing business support information from the Thames Valley Berkshire Growth Hub. We have continued our support for the newly formed Business Improvement District, providing a network for companies based in the Southern and Western Business Areas. We want to make sure we recognise the new challenges for local businesses, therefore we currently have a survey underway exploring some of the initial business impacts of the crisis.
And finally, on a different note, please do stay aware of criminals seeking to exploit the systems in place to protect us. I am aware of a Test and Trace scam operating locally where callers ask for payment for coronavirus testing. I’d like to emphasise that the government testing service will never ask you for payment; it is completely free. So please do be cautious and stay safe and well.