Re-opening the town centre ... safely

Information for business

As Reading town centre reopens its doors, we’ll keep you updated with all the latest advice to support you and your business.

Opening your business safely

Businesses will only be able to reopen once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation. Hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.

Charles Pinner, Store Manager of Reading’s Marks & Spencer, provides information about about what they’ve learned since re-opening their stores>>>

New security measure to keep you and your staff safe

In preparation for the reopening of our town centre, the council have introduced new measures to help visitors access and navigate the town centre easily and safely whilst respecting social distancing. These include:

  • A number of pedestrian one-way systems, including on Union Street, Oxford Road by Broad Street Mall, Station Road and the station subway
  • Barriers to direct on-foot visitors at pinch points such as bus stops
  • Painted lines in public areas to help shoppers maintain social distancing measures

The council is also encouraging visitors to bring their own hand sanitiser, to complement those being provided by a number of businesses at the entrance to their shops. This will support the increased hygiene measures being introduced in town by Reading UK and the council, including a disinfectant clean in late June of over 39,000 square feet of public space. There will also be cleaning teams out every day to ensure the town centre remains as clean as possible. Additionally, hand washing facilities will be available at Reading’s public toilets which will be open in St Martin’s Precinct, Caversham Court, Meadway Precinct, Cemetery Junction, Albert Hall, and the Town Hall urilift.

Travel into the town centre as it reopens

Visitors are encouraged to walk or cycle into the town, and Reading Borough Council is making a number of changes to help them access the town more easily, such as some one-way systems and additional space available for walking and cycling

  • Cars - visitors are asked to follow government advice and avoid using public transport where at all possible think carefully about the times, routes and ways to travel so everyone has more space to stay safe. Reading Borough Council car parks will be open for those unable to get in on foot or by bike
  • Buses - services have increased since 1st June for those without alternative travel means, but with reduced capacity on each bus to observe social distancing. You are advised to use contactless payment and wear a face mask on the bus.
  • Trains - services are increasing to Saturday levels, but visitors are asked only travel by train if there is no other option.

Guidance and support

Working safely
The government has provided guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible, and Reading UK encourages business to refer to the official guidance and support available on the government website.
Here you will find specific guidance for employers, employees and the self-employed on working safely during COVID-19 in; restaurants offering takeaway or delivery and shops and branches, as well as a Staying COVID-19 Secure poster which businesses can display

NHS test and trace
If you are aware of an outbreak of confirmed Covid-19 within your business setting, you should contact Reading Council, tel 0118 937 3787 during normal working hours (out-of-hours emergencies: 0118 937 3737) as soon as possible. You will be directed to the Council’s Food & Safety team. For more information on managing workplace risk, potential outbreaks and supporting employees who need to self-isolate take a look at our guide for employers and businesses >>>

Staying safe and well
Reading Borough Council has released a Coronavirus factsheet, with useful information on mental health and wellbeing, help you and your employees to stay safe and well during this time. Download the factsheet>>>

Managing social distancing
If you have concerns about customers not practising social distancing inside your shop and you’re unable to solve the problem with the individuals concerned, please contact our town centre wardens on the town safe radio who will be able to support.

More information on COVID-19
For the latest government announcements and business advice including health, financial support, employment, insurance, crime and safety, volunteering, communications and travel, take a look at our Coronavirus update page.


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