Some lockdown restrictions have been eased across Tameside as many non-essential shops throughout the borough have finally reopened their doors.
In line with this, Tameside Council has launched a 'Safely Reopening Tameside' campaign.
The authority say it is to ensure the reopening of shops is done safely and adheres to government guidelines, as well as collating advice and support available, frequently asked questions, and a series of signage which businesses can download.
The campaign is also part of the coordinated #SafeGM initiative across Greater Manchester.
Delivered by the Growth Company in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the advice and support being given is designed to ensure that employers and employees are aware of the information they need to work and travel safely amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Transport for Greater Manchester has also introduced hand sanitiser dispensers at bus stations and interchanges, and is looking at rolling them out at other key Metrolink stops.
There is discounted travel for people working more flexibly and travelling less often.
Passengers should look out for hand sanitiser stations similar to these at bus stations and key stops
Subject to confirmation of a £21.5 million funding bid to the Department for Transport, TfGM is also planning up to 200km of new emergency active travel protected routes, traffic calming measures and increasing access to bikes. There will also be an expansion of Greater Manchester's bike loan scheme and relaunching of cycle training to provide people with the confidence and skills to commute by bike.
From next Monday (22 June), there will also be more trams running - with Metrolink set to increase services to every 10 minutes as more people return to work.
Where working from home isn't possible, businesses and workers are still being encouraged to only use public transport if necessary - and instead walk, cycle or drive where possible.
From this week, wearing face coverings on public transport is now mandatory and passengers are responsible for providing these.
However, to help people get used to the change, TfGM is distributing a limited number of masks at staffed bus stations, interchanges and some Metrolink stops.
Meanwhile, employers are being urged to follow a set of SafeGM guidelines, including:
- Supporting home working wherever possible
- Where possible, only bringing a proportion of their staff back at one time and staggering the working day by allowing some staff to start earlier and others to finish later to ease the peak on public transport.
- Providing good hygiene facilities.
- Enabling social distancing and where operationally impractical employers should implement measures to lower risk of transmission e.g. providing PPE
- Boosting employee confidence by conducting and publishing a risk assessment
- Workplaces, especially retail, should boost confidence by displaying a notice visibly in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they are implementing government guidance
- Acknowledging the needs of individual employees, who may need to consider childcare or other responsibilities
- Promoting good mental and physical health.
The council hopes that the introduction of staggered shift patterns and more flexible working arrangements will improve work-life balance and boost productivity, as business leaders begin the process of reopening the Tameside economy.
Cllr Oliver Ryan, Tameside Council Executive Member for Finance and Economic Growth, said: “Our main concern is the health of our location population and so any reopening of our local economy must be done as safely as possible. Through the Safely Reopening Tameside campaign we’ll be sharing vital information and guidelines with residents and businesses in the borough.
“While you can now visit more of the shops which have been the lifeblood of our community for generations, I encourage anyone can work from home to please continue to do so and help us in our response to the pandemic.”
For information on supporting employers and employees - including a business advice FAQ and downloadable materials - you can visit www.tameside.gov.uk/safetameside.
Here at Quest Media Network, we have launched a #WeAreOpen campaign to support local businesses and traders as they re-open their doors. Find out more and read more stories at https://www.questmedianetwork.co.uk/news/business/.