As Covid-19 restrictions are eased ahead of the summer, a new £56-million (AUD100-million) ‘Welcome Back’ fund has been unveiled to help England’s high streets and coastal towns safely reopen.
The Government funding will allow councils to boost the look and feel of local areas through improved green spaces. There will also be more outdoor seating areas, as well as markets and pop-up food stalls.
“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer,” communities secretary Robert Jenrick said when making the announcement.
Summer-long marquees allowed for pubs
Other plans include pubs being allowed to host marquees in their gardens for the duration for summer, rather than the 28 days normally permitted.
Caps will be introduced on private parking fines to encourage motorists to visit towns. Authorities say they want to discourage the excesses of “cowboy parking firms”.
As foreign beachside holidays look increasingly unlikely for many Britons, English coastal destinations are to be a particular focus. Europe has experienced a rise in infections recently and several countries have announced new restrictions. Among them are summer holiday spots such as France and Italy.
The Government said all English seaside resorts are to receive support under funding designated for towns by the sea.
Next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown
“As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown, we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants,” Jenrick said.
“Our welcome back fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.
“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much,” he stated.