A borough-wide campaign will be supporting local businesses as they reopen their doors following months of closure due to the third coronavirus lockdown.

Watford will once again be open for business from April 12 under the government’s road map out of lockdown, with residents allowed to return to shops, gyms and close contact services such as hairdressers and beauty salons.

Bars, pubs and restaurants will also be allowed to serve customers outdoors, but groups will be limited to two households or by the 'rule of six'.

In order to help local businesses get back up and running after the challenges of three periods of lockdown and restrictions, a campaign dubbed ‘Welcome Back Watford’ will showcase all the town centre has to offer and reassure people about the Covid safety measures in place to protect them.

Watford Borough Council says the campaign will involve using £85,636 given to the town from the Welcome Back Fund to boost the return to the High Street.

The council says this can support a range of initiatives including improving green spaces, providing more outdoor seating areas and deploying Covid safety measures.

Improvements to the streetscape of key retail areas in Market Street, Queens Road and St Albans Road will also be made as part of the campaign, while the renovation of Watford Market is set to help improve the ‘look and feel’ of the destinations.

Hillingdon Times:

Hillingdon Times:

The campaign will also involve:

  • Promoting ‘Shop Local, Shop Watford’ and highlighting that whatever customers are looking for, they can find it locally. From popping into a local bakery for a cake, or buying a quirky gift from an independent shop, to help businesses bounce back.
  • A number of initiatives designed to attract people to the town centre, including Food and Drink Week, the return of the wonderful flowers as part of ‘Watford in Bloom’, and the Big Events programme which includes Watford Maze, Big Dance and Big Beach.
  • Supporting the Restart Grants Scheme, where businesses in the non-essential retail sector in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000, while businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors, which are reopening later, will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £18,000.

Tom Dobrashion, Head of Place Shaping at Watford Borough Council, said: “It’s vital, now more than ever, that we all do what we can to support our local Watford businesses.

“The past few months have been so difficult. Whether it’s your local grocer, florist or fabric shop, they all need our support so they can survive this crisis and thrive in the future. Shopping local means money is kept in the local economy – supporting jobs and local families.”

Maria Manion, Chief Executive of Watford BID, added: “The council and Watford BID continues to invest in the town to ensure the business community survive and thrive into the future. We are fortunate to have a town which provides a great choice and offer for all our residents and for those who work in the town or visiting.

“The future for our high street is bright so long as we come together as a community and support our businesses, whether it be visiting the town, buying and ordering directly from them, or even simply leaving them a review online and liking their social media pages.”