Mayor’s column 18 June 2020

There’s a little bit of brightness on the horizon this week, as the lockdown restrictions are eased across the country. We’ll be able to sit with family members or friends, albeit outside the house and socially distancing, but it’s a good start. This week of course also heralded the opening of many of our shops, and our wonderful Saturday market!

I was interviewed by Simon Parkin on BBC Radio Somerset on Saturday morning to talk about the precautions all the stallholders and business owners are taking to keep us all out of harm’s way. Well-marked out queueing positions, pre-wrapped goods, click & collect opportunities, and no cash being handled are just a few of the steps being taken to ensure that we all remain safe and well.

Most towns are working towards gradually opening up and we’re no exception. In fact, the way Frome is working it will give people in the town the chance to have their say in what will make life easier. To this end, we’re starting a series of consultations with people from several groups including Community groups, Neighbourhoods, Businesses, Frome Arts & Venues, as well as thinking about Vocational Training opportunities to help people back on their feet. In all these cases we’ll be expecting to come away with at least three or four salient points that will help to kick start the town back into our usual robust and productive activity.

You may have already seen this week that we’re also preparing to start work on the second phase of developing the Marketplace into a more attractive and pedestrian-friendly town centre. The work commences on 22nd June, and while these works take place, the centre of the town will be closed to traffic thereby allowing shoppers to easily move around the works in a safe and socially distanced way enabling pedestrians to make use of the roadway rather than rely on narrow pavements to access the shops.

As the weather starts to improve again, I hope we’ll all be able to take advantage of the traffic-free zone to start to socialise and feel as though life is slowly beginning to return. We need to support our local shops and businesses, so I hope to see you around the town. Have a great week!

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