Covid safe initiatives to help keep local businesses open
Mid and East Antrim Council is fully supporting those businesses who are welcoming back customers and to ensure we all do it safely, to make sure they can stay open.
Shoppers and pub-goers alike will see welcoming signage across the town centres and Covid-safe initiatives are being rolled out to help businesses reopen safely.
As well as Council’s Covid Confidence packs, available on its website, which is a handy ‘how to’ for businesses, hand sanitising stations and friendly reminders are dotted along the centres to help crowds stay safe.
A number of further business support grants are also up for grabs to help bolster ones already launched throughout the pandemic. Council staff will be engaging with local businesses over the next few weeks to find out what further support is needed to help boost business and encourage footfall to the town centres. A number of business support schemes are continuing to roll out online covering topics for retail, start-ups and digital workshops. The Town Centre Re-Purposing Grant scheme runs until June 30 and offers up to £30k in investments to revitalise vacant properties.
An exciting new project to develop “Parklets” is in the pipeline with the idea being to bring businesses with limited indoor space, right onto the streets they’re located on with hedging, parasols and greenery areas allowing an array of opportunities that the owner’s may never have had. Not only will this allow for full business diversification, boosting hospitality offerings, but bring some greenery to our urban areas throughout Mid and East Antrim.
Mayor Peter Johnston said: “We have come so far, and as restrictions ease, footfall is already up in towns across the borough. The last 12 months have been incredibly challenging for our local businesses but we are starting to see signs that better times are coming.
“As we look ahead to the reopening of all our businesses in line with the Northern Ireland Executive’s Pathway out of Restrictions, it is important that we give our support to them, while also mindful that all the necessary safety measures have been put in place to protect the health and wellbeing of our entire community. With these latest grant schemes we want to enable the regeneration of our town centres as we continue our journey towards societal and economic recovery. Council’s vision is that by focusing on regeneration initiatives such as this, we will ultimately help boost footfall in our town centres to secure and grow an array of businesses futures for generations.