Social distanced cafe culture on the cards

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Peterborough city centre could get an outdoor cafe culture following the safe return of retail post lockdown (Picture: Shariqua Ahmed)

Around 50% of retailers reopened on Monday for the first time in three months, with the likes of Primark and Sports Direct seeing long queues of eager customers outside their stores.

Peterborough city council said the feedback from shopkeepers, volunteer marshalls and shoppers has been overwhelmingly positive. And added that a good level of business was reported while social distancing measures were being observed. 

Independent retailers at the Westgate Arcade including the watch repair shop; the Right time, Niro Fashions in Cumbergate and Parrott’s Fish Bar on Hereward Cross reported their best day’s trade for a long time. 
 
Going forward, the council is now working on the next phase, where it plans to reignite the city centre and create a socially distanced cafe culture. The hospitality sector has been badly affected by the pandemic and many owners have said they will struggle to resume trade under the current social distancing measures. 

Therefore, after receiving funding from the Combined Authority, the council is working on providing the best suitable infrastructure to allow all-weather casual dining outside in the city centre.    

Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “Thank you to the shops for enforcing the measures so well and of course to the shoppers for following the rules and ensuring our city centre hasn’t so far had the issues that other places have experienced. Thanks to the police too for increasing their presence in the city centre in case there were any issues.  
“If you’ve not visited yet, then it may be helpful for you to know that we have lots of measures in place to help keep you safe, like wider pavements, additional street cleaning and bench markings which show you how to keep a safe distance from others. We're also continuing free parking in all council-owned car parks until the middle of next month.  
 
“Our shopping marshals are out in force all this week too, guiding people through the new measures. Many of them have said they’ve enjoyed speaking to shoppers and seeing the city centre thriving again – a point echoed by the Mayor of Cambridgeshire James Palmer when he visited the city on Monday. Please support our city centre shops and businesses if you are able to – their future lies in your hand.”