During this Covid-19 pandemic many Arundel businesses have gone ‘above and beyond’ to support our community. This was reflected in the number of retailers nominated for the 2020 Community Award, whose names are now shown on the Roll of Honour in the Town Hall.
However there is now some unrest in our town about queues, lack of social distancing and congestion around some businesses, including cafés selling take-away food and coffee. This issue of congestion is made worse by the narrowness of the streets in Arundel Town Centre.
Our PCSO, James Elder, has been in discussion with the Council and the Chamber of Commerce and reported that one outlet had received hostile anonymous communications which Sussex Police are investigating. This is now the subject of a robust police investigation. This incident has led to some aggressive social media posts.
Neither the Chamber of Commerce nor the Council would ever condone the bullying or harassment of any business, organisation, or individual in Arundel. Happily our town is a tolerant, generous and open-hearted community. No-one can fail to recognise the wonderful way that Arundel people have rallied during this pandemic. In January 2021, within 36 hours of asking for volunteers, 35 drivers had come forward to take older residents to and from their vaccinations. Throughout last year many Arundel people shopped, walked dogs, collected prescriptions and posted letters for their friends, neighbours and strangers. This is the Arundel that we all know and love, and it is far removed from the town we have been reading about in recent weeks.
So what are the guidelines for businesses during this lockdown:
- Under the government regulations that currently apply, cafés are allowed to open to serve take-away food and drink.
- In principle, hard though it is to enforce, retail outlets are responsible for making sure that queues waiting for service outside of their premises observe social distancing and for avoiding congestion.
- There are no limits on how far people can travel for exercise, though the government are encouraging people to stay close to their homes.
- If anyone believes that any outlet is breaching the rules and presenting a health risk, the answer is please not to inflame the situation on social media, but instead report their concerns to the Arun District Council Environmental Health Team on 01903-737755, or to Arundel Town Council on 01903-882954. Arun District Council officers are visiting Arundel to ensure that trading is safe, and that everyone understands and is following the guidelines.
Sharon Blaikie, Chair of the Chamber of Commerce
Tony Hunt, Mayor of Arundel