Watford town centre, and other retail areas across the town, are gearing up to welcome people back as non-essential shops reopen on Monday (15 June), with a range of measures in place to make sure they can shop safely and with confidence.
Over the last few weeks, Watford Borough Council has been working with Hertfordshire County Council, Watford BID and intu Watford to provide more space for people to move safely around the town centre. This will ensure people keep their distance and queue where needed to enter shops, banks and takeaways.
Shops and businesses have all been offered tailored support from the council’s Environmental Health team to make sure they are doing what is needed to keep their staff and customers safe. People should look out for the Watford ‘confidence mark’ which shows a business has taken steps to follow guidance and are prioritising people’s safety.
Watford BID has provided five hand sanitising units throughout the town centre and introduced a ‘one way’ system through the High Street – just follow the pink and green stickers on the pavement. Stewards are also on hand to manage queues and providing advice and support to visitors – they will be keeping a particular eye out for any visitors who might need a bit of extra help.
Many stores in intu will be opening their doors for the first time since March. The centre has introduced its own safety measures, including managing the number of visitors inside the centre and putting controls in place at the entrance and exit points at Queens Road.
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor said “We are looking forward to welcoming people back to the High Street and other shopping areas across the town. Whilst they may look and feel a bit different, we are all looking forward to a return of some sort of normality, bringing vibrancy back to the town and boosting our local economy. Our businesses have done an amazing job to make sure they can open safely and so I would encourage people to support them if they can. It is important we all keep a safe distance from others, washing or sanitise our hands regularly and walk or cycle if that is possible”.
Maria Manion, Chief Executive of Watford BID said “Watford has such a vibrant and thriving town centre, with the renovated High Street, intu extension and brilliant businesses operating in the High Street all making it a great place to shop and eat. Watford is also one of the top 20 shopping destinations in the UK, and to help keep it that way, we are encouraging people to support our local businesses after the challenging few months they have been through.
With more retailers opening from the 15 June, what we would say to people is actually allow more time because this is not going to be your normal shopping experience that you’re used to and be prepared to spend more time in the town centre”
Local business launch “Brew for a Hero” campaign for NHS & key workers
Harpenden based Twist Teas have announced their “Brew for a Hero” campaign is back! Launched to support and boost morale for NHS staff and key workers, the Brew for a Hero” campaign gives people a chance to show their appreciation for all the heroes from all walks of life during the current pandemic. This could be anyone – local postal workers, refuse collectors and cleaners, emergency services and health care staff, teachers and chefs, community groups and volunteers.
You can participate in the “Brew for a Hero” by nominating a NHS or key workers hero you know. Nominate your hero and give them a chance to win one of Twist Teas Rainbow inspired tea caddies. If you know a key worker, that you would like to surprise with a personalised Rainbow Caddy of tea, simply email your nominations to email@example.com. Please include a brief reason, as to why they deserve a little treat. Twist Teas will again be tasked with the difficult job of picking winners, to be announced on the 31st of January.
Twist Teas will also be making caddies available to purchase via their website with profits going to NHS Charities. More information about Twist Teas can be found in our interview with founders, mother and daughter duo Nicky Kavanaugh & Claire Ayers.
Watford businesses to decide on the future of Watford BID
Watford BID have launched a video highlighting the reasons why they believe they deserve a second 5-year term. Many residents in Watford are aware of Watford BID but not many understand exactly what they do and more importantly, how integral their work is to the success of Watford.
What is a BID and why are they so important?
Essentially, a BID (Business Improvement District) is a business-led and business funded body formed to improve a specific area in which a levy is charged on all business rate payers. This levy is used to develop projects and provide services which benefit businesses in the local area. This can include:
- Activities to increase visitors to the area
- Reducing overall business costs for levy members
- Marketing and promotion of the area such
- Lobbying councils/local government
- Working with local police to reduce anti-social behaviour
There is no limit on what projects or services that can be provided through a Business Improvement District. Some BIDS are more effective at certain tasks than others for a number of reasons but overall, the benefits BIDs offer to the various towns across Beds, Bucks & Herts is immeasurable.
Three reasons for Watford BID to get renewed
We have selected what we believe are the three main reasons why Watford BID should get renewed.
1. Watford BID offers a central point of contact
At a time when the Government don’t know if they are coming or going, having a central point for all information relating to Watford offers residents, visitors and business owners a much-needed level of clarity. Social distancing procedures and safety communication both need harmonisation to keep Watford Town safe.
Watford BID have been extremely informative on Social Media and in the district sharing key information such as this statement on the national lockdown from the Mayor of Watford.
Typically a Business Improvement District is within a local authority boundary but in April 2013 government introduced Cross Boundary Business Improvement Districts enabling Business Improvement Districts to operate across local authority boundaries.
2. Watford Restaurants & Bars will need support after the lockdowns end
Promoting Watford’s entertainment venues post-covid is going to need a lot of collaborative support post covid. Individual businesses taking to to social media to posts and update Facebook is not going to tempt the same numbers back to the district’s nightlife venues.
By having one organisation working alongside all the venues to promote Watford as an entertainment destination, visitors will hear one concise message that Watford is open for business.
3. Think of the benefits for residents and visitors
There have been calls for BIDs across The Three Counties to do more by some levy payers but in fairness, the amount of work involved in some of the projects is not to be underestimated such as launching The Watford Gift Card.
It is also important to understand that alongside promoting what’s on in Watford and things to do in Watford, the organisation is a key source for useful information for those living in and visiting Watford.
Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?
Regardless of lockdowns and coronavirus, people want food. Fans of Five Guys could be getting a late Christmas present with a new Five Guys in Stevenage. A recent job post on the Five Guys recruitment page for a General Manager in the Stevenage area has got locals excited about the possible arrival of the much loved American Chain.
Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?
Spotted by an eagled eyed member of ‘Stevenage Chit Chat‘, the advert for a General Manager drops a few clues at a possible opening of a Five Guys in Stevenage.
Clue No.1 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – The perfect scene
Nothing cements a clue in a mystery more than a location. The recruitment team have placed a X on the spot and that is 51°54’02.4″N 0°12’33.7″W. For all the normal people reading this, that is Unit 10 in Stevenage Leisure Park. This was home to Pizza Hut since late 2002 but this recent Google treasure map shows the unit is currently empty.
Clue No.2 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – A job for an ‘accomplice’
Did we mention there is a second job advert for a ‘Assistant Manager? If one job advert was not enough proof, two should be enough to convince you that plans are afoot for a Five Guys in Stevenage.
Clue No.3 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – A motive
What more motive do you need than hungry people in Stevenage in need of a good burger? A Five Guys in Stevenage is well overdue. It could even tempt Sir Lewis Hamilton back to Stevenage.