Londoners urged to drive recovery by supporting City businesses

People from across the capital are being encouraged to make a responsible return to the streets of the City of London as shops reopen for business following restrictions on non-essential retailers being relaxed from Monday (15 June).

New data from the City of London Corporation shows that approximately 250 premises are now open to customers in the Square Mile, consisting mostly of food and drink outlets, retailers, banks and pharmacies. More are expected to reopen in the coming weeks.

A number of measures have been taken to ensure the gradual safe return of people who work, visit and live in the Square Mile. This includes the City Corporation’s transport recovery plan, which is primarily based on walking, cycling and the managed use of public transport in order to provide the space needed to comfortably and safely maintain social distancing on City streets. Retailers are also taking steps such as providing additional hand sanitisers, introducing one-way systems and managing access in order to ensure safety.

Premises offering takeaway food and alcohol in the Square Mile have been given detailed guidelines by the City of London Corporation and City of London Police on how Government legislation and public health guidance on COVID-19 applies to their licences.

Speaking at the Court of Common Council – the City of London Corporation’s main decision-making body – today (18 June), Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness said: “Many shops and retailers across the City have reopened this week following a change in the Government guidance. While these businesses have been classified as “non-essential”, they play an “essential” role in making the Square Mile a thriving and vibrant hub. I urge Londoners to explore the City’s streets and support our local businesses, particularly SMEs, in a safe and responsible manner.”

Primera Corporation works closely with the City Corporation and oversees the Cheapside Business Alliance, the Aldgate Connect BID and the new business partnerships for the Fleet Street Quarter and the Eastern City Cluster area, the EC Partnership.

Primera’s MD Ruth Duston, OBE, OC said: “BIDs and partnerships across the Square Mile are working closely with the City Corporation as we embark on a tentative recovery. Our business communities are motivated to support and enhance efforts to kick start the City again safely and with confidence. A range of measures are being progressed, from supporting the City’s transport recovery plan with clear communications and advising on alternative walking / cycling routes, to promoting businesses as they start to reopen.

“This will be a phased and evolving recovery and we are well placed to respond with agility to changing needs in the coming months. Another important strand of our work is focused on bolstering our understanding of the impact of COVID on the City through commissioning research and lobbying central Government and transport providers to ensure there is clarity and consistency of message. We will continue to collaborate with the City to help inform future decisions across the Square Mile.”

The City Corporation has also been working to ensure businesses, particularly SMEs, are supported during these exceptionally difficult times. Following the Government announcements on Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Funds, the City Corporation has now directly paid out over £16m of the original £14.7m allocation – approximately 110%. A total of 984 grant payments have also been made. Business tenants have also been offered rental relief through the pandemic.

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk