At 12.30pm last Tuesday afternoon businesses from around the country eagerly tuned in to Boris to hear the details on the next phase of reopening and how restrictions may be eased.

To coincide with this reopening date the Prime Minister also confirmed that the social distancing rules will be changing from 2 metres to ‘1 metre plus’.

This means that we should all continue to stay 2 metres apart wherever possible but allows businesses that would be severely restricted by this to apply a 1 metre distancing rule as long as the appropriate mitigations are in place.

Without this change it simply would not have been logistically or economically feasible for countless businesses to reopen. Reduced capacity would results in lower sales but with the same high costs. Now, although still restricted on capacities, there is more scope to cover costs and earn some money in the process.

But we must acknowledge that distancing measures and safety procedures are still in place. Reopening businesses are preparing by reviewing the guidelines set out to ensure the virus does not resurge and everyone is kept safe.

Please help our local businesses by continuing to stay safe by staying apart and adhere to the guidelines that are in place whilst you shop.

Suzanne Gloyne, Southend BID manager