Shoppers in Nottingham are being urged to support local businesses as they reopen next week – but to make sure they keep themselves and others safe.

As part of the Government’s next stage of the roadmap out of national Covid restrictions, non-essential shops, hairdressers, barbers, beauticians and outdoor hospitality venues can open again from Monday.

This is an important landmark for Nottingham, especially given the high proportion of independent businesses in both retail and hospitality.

Nottingham City Council has been supporting these outlets over the course of the pandemic and especially in the past few weeks with preparations to reopen.

This has included issuing outdoor licences to allow hospitality businesses to offer more space to serve people safely. The Council has proactively contacted a number of outlets and granted 45 new licences, while extending a fee-free period from last summer for a further 60 until the end of September this year.

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Growth and the City Centre, pictured above, said: “It’s great news that our wonderful and diverse selection of independent businesses can reopen to the public from Monday. We’re very lucky to have them in Nottingham and I know how much they’ve been missed.

“As the country looks to get back on its feet after an unprecedented year, it’s so important that we support these local traders. I understand all the effort and hard work that has gone into reopening.

“However, this doesn’t mean that we forget that important Covid regulations remain in place. Nottingham has worked so hard to get us to this point and we all need to continue playing our part to keep each other safe.

“Social-distancing rules still apply and there will clearly be limits on the number of people who can enter premises at any one time. There will likely be queues outside some shops and we’ll need to be patient and sensible.”

Shoppers are reminded that non-essential retailers will be able to use the temporary extended trading hours and can remain open until 10pm from Monday to Saturday to help spread customers over the course of the day. This will not apply to Sunday trading laws which remain unchanged.

Councillor Webster added: “We don’t yet know what the take-up will be, but I’d urge people to check the trading hours of particular shops they want to visit before travelling into Nottingham. They might be able to leave it until later and perhaps not have to queue. 

“The idea is to spread shoppers out across the day rather than have long queues and peak times around lunchtime.”

Lucy Stanford, Director of Operations at the Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID) said: “Plenty of measures have been put in in place to make sure businesses are Covid-safe, in order for visitors to return to the city centre safely and to enjoy all the things they have missed, as well as discover new areas and hidden gems. 

“To put Nottingham firmly on the map as a city of destination, Nottingham BID is heading up a campaign, under the branding Let’s Go, which will be rolled out over the next few weeks.”