From 12 April, our local high streets in Salcombe, Kingsbridge, Dartmouth, Ivybridge and Totnes will be open for business. With so much on offer locally and so many businesses desperate to throw open their doors and welcome visitors back - the overriding message is let's all be sensible; respect and protect each other and enjoy the shopping experience.
Our towns across the South Hams have always offered something a bit different that keeps locals and visitors coming back. Now, as restrictions lift, you'll find some innovative solutions to help keep everyone safe so you can shop, eat and enjoy with confidence.
For example, in Salcombe, you'll find markers on the ground to help you keep a safe distance as you stroll along the streets. In Totnes, you'll discover beautiful planters greening up the town and acting as a natural traffic calming solution to make the High Street more pedestrian-friendly. The unique layout of Dartmouth, with a myriad of quiet back streets, parks and the large, open Embankment along the river, means the town is naturally suited to social distancing. It's the same story in Kingsbridge, where the wide streets make social distancing as you browse the unique independent stores a breeze. In Ivybridge, and all our towns in the South Hams, you'll discover that local traders have also taken all the necessary steps to keep customers and their staff safe. This includes offering hand sanitiser and restricting the number of people who can enter their premises at a time.
Look out for signs in the towns that are there to help remind people of the rules - it is easy for us all to forget what we're supposed to do when we start to relax and enjoy ourselves. For even more peace of mind, South Hams District Council's COVID Compliance Officers will also be regularly visiting our towns to chat to business owners and the public to help make sure everyone feels safe.
South Hams District Council's Environmental Health Team said: "The lockdown has been a long, painful experience for many of our businesses who would have desperately loved to have served their customers over the last 12 months, but due to the COVID-19 restrictions have been closed.
"We are all very much looking forward to kick-starting the recovery of our towns and our high streets. But here is a slight word of caution, we still need to be careful, so if we all show respect and protect each other, we can all have a lovely, safe shopping experience.
"We know that our excellent local food and drink is part of what makes the South Hams so special. From locally-made ice-cream and the perfect flat-white to pies or vegan pizza, there's something to suit every taste. So enjoying food and drink safely is also high on the agenda. Last summer, our towns embraced the al fresco experience. It was great to see people enjoying eating out comfortably and safely thanks to pop-up tables, chairs and benches. Once again, local venues will be able to make the best use of the outside spaces in our towns, so you can relax and enjoy a slice of continental al fresco living."