While the lifting of lockdown and easing of restrictions have been welcome, it is important that people feel safe and reassured about returning to towns and cities and visiting their favourite shops, restaurants and attractions again.

In Southampton, a number of initiatives have been put in place to ensure it’s a safe place and ready for you to enjoy.

Be Smart, Stay Apart 

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Observing current social distancing guidelines remains essential in preventing the spread of Coronavirus. Southampton City Council and GO! Southampton have put floor markers in place to help everyone stay safe when queuing outside shops and walking through the city centre. Other city-centre measures include increased pedestrianisation such as widened footpaths and the addition of more secure cycle parking provision. Surfaces which are used – and touched – by many people such as benches, bins and gates are being disinfected with antiviral spray on a regular basis by the City Services teams. They are also continuing to disinfect high-contact areas of car parks such as handrails, lifts and ticket machines.

Cycling and walking are still encouraged for everyone, but you can also travel by public transport, provided you follow relevant guidance. Face coverings are essential on public transport and capacity is reduced. Frequency and times of services may also be different so please check before you travel.

Face coverings are also a must in shops now – for customers and staff (exemptions apply). They play a role in preventing the spread of coronavirus to others and are particularly important in confined spaces where two metre social distancing may prove difficult to maintain at all times and where there are people that you do not normally come into contact with. Shops are also limiting the number of customers allowed in-store at any one time for everyone’s safety, and opening hours may temporarily be different.

Eating Out

After a long, difficult period of enforced closure for hospitality businesses, many of Southampton’s pubs, restaurants and cafes have now reopened. Open hospitality businesses all have to follow strict safety guidance, ranging from social distancing to rigorous cleaning and staff hygiene protocols, and collecting customer contact details to support contact tracing in the event of a confirmed Covid-19 case. It is likely you’ll need to book ahead so please check with your chosen venue before you visit.

Southampton Inside Out

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Not only is sitting outside when visiting pubs, restaurants and cafes a good way to make the most of the summer sunshine, it also helps to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 being spread. Southampton Inside Out is a new initiative aimed at increasing the amount of outdoor dining space in the city, both immediately outside of business premises and in designated public spaces. This supports local businesses as well as improving customer experience and choice. More information, including details of planned pilot schemes can be found at gosouthampton.co.uk/southamptoninsideout.

Eat Out To Help Out 

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And if you want to get out there and try the new eating out experience, you can do so for less with the Government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme. From August 3-31 – on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays – you can save up to £10 per person with 50% off food and non-alcoholic drinks when you eat out at participating businesses. With over 130 outlets signed up in Southampton you’re spoilt for choice; for a comprehensive list of the Southampton businesses taking part in the scheme go to: visitsouthampton.co.uk/EOTHO.

So, come on out - Southampton may look a little different but it’s still the same at heart.

For more information: www.visitsouthampton.co.uk

Please check if the shops or restaurants you wish to visit are open and at what times.

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