NEXT week sees a further easing of the Covid-19 restrictions with more non-essential retail businesses opening their doors and towns and villages across the Staffordshire Moorlands gearing up to safely welcome back shoppers and visitors.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) is working with the county council on measures to ensure people can move safely around town centres and, to further support the local economy, outdoor markets and some public toilets are also re-opening.
Enhanced cleaning measures are in place for public toilets and car park ticketing machines.
SMDC Leader Sybil Ralphs MBE said: "With more of our shops, markets and businesses set to start opening up again from next week, the council is working to put in place measures to ensure people can return to our towns and villages with confidence that it is safe to do so.
"That will mean some changes to town centres and to how shops and business operate so that the necessary social distancing, and other safety measures, can be observed to protect everyone.
"We're further supporting our local economy by beginning to open up the facilities which an increased number of people in towns will require, such as public toilets, and we're looking forward to welcoming people back.
"I would, however, strongly urge people to behave responsibly when they are out and about by staying two metres apart and following the specific requirements of any shops or amenities they visit. That way, we can all stay safe as we gradually begin to return to those activities we enjoyed before lockdown."
The Archer Fairs licensed market will return to Leek on Saturday, June 13 with the Charter Market coming back from Wednesday, June 17. In Cheadle, the market at Greyhound Walk will start again from Friday, June 19.
Public toilets, including those at the bus hub in Biddulph; Tape Street in Cheadle; and Silk Street in Leek, alongside some facilities at visitor sites including Milldale, Wetton and the toilets at the start of the Manifold Valley Track in Hulme End will also be open from Monday, June 15.
Most facilities will operate on a 'one-in-one-out' basis and toilets will need to close completely while they are cleaned. Opening hours may also be reduced.
The district council is also working with Chambers of Commerce, Growth Hub and Destination Staffordshire to support businesses with advice, training and funding to help them re-open.
To date, the council has paid small business and retail, hospitality and leisure grants totalling £20.6 million to over 1,800 Staffordshire Moorland businesses - approximately 91 per cent of those eligible.
The Discretionary Business Grant scheme to support businesses with ongoing fixed property costs who weren't eligible for the earlier grants, is also now open with over 60 applications received. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 16 June and businesses can apply online via the SMDC website.
To find out more about business grants, and for more details about the re-opening of public toilets and other council amenities, please visit www.staffsmoorlands.gov.uk/Coronavirus