Residents in southern Oxfordshire are being urged to enjoy the easing of restrictions safely with new messaging they’ll see while out and about from their district councils.
The government is warning the public to remain cautious as restrictions ease amidst concerns about the Indian variant of Covid-19, and so South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have designed a new information campaign. It aims to help re-open high streets and reinvigorate the economy by encouraging people back to their local shops, cafés and markets again, whilst maintaining all the sensible precautions to prevent any further spread of Covid-19.
Billboards will appear across the districts from 25 May with slogans including “don’t start counting [your chickens] just yet” and “keep waiting good things are coming” to mark the next phase of the campaign asking people to make covid-safe decisions to keep Oxfordshire open.
Working together with town and parish councils, bright new banners were put up across parks and playgrounds during the first phase of the campaign as restrictions began to ease. The banners include friendly guidance messages at the entrances of community and public open spaces and venues to help residents to remain safe while visiting.
The campaign also includes downloadable posters for businesses to display in their windows, table tents and beer mats for pubs and cafés, and marketplace signage to welcome people back to shop safely. Now that guesthouses, cinemas, theatres and community centres have reopened throughout district, new downloadable posters have been made available specifically for these venues.
Where possible, the district councils were able to source sustainable and recyclable materials in the production of the bright new banners and signage. The councils worked with Oxfordshire businesses including design agency One and local printers including Seacourt, Fineprint and Mayfield Press to produce all the resources needed for the campaign.
Cllr Sue Cooper, Leader with responsibility for Climate Change and Nature Recovery at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We’re delighted that our campaign that is supporting local businesses has had such a positive response so far. We’d like to thank all the town and parish councils who have got involved and helped to keep residents safe and to feel more comfortable in visiting local shops, cafés and community venues again.”
Cllr Bethia Thomas, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “As we continue along the government’s roadmap we’ve been able to help support the local economy by giving businesses and venues access to free resources to welcome customers back safely. Messages that gently remind residents about Covid-19 safety measures and behaviours are designed to help stop the spread of the virus in order to keep Oxfordshire open.”
Henley Town Council Clerk, Sheridan Jacklin-Edward said: “As the nation opens up, we are delighted to see the familiar hustle and bustle of daily life return to Henley-on-Thames. Our shops, traders and businesses have been incredibly inventive and responsive. They have effective measures in place that allow them to trade safely.
“As the weather improves, public spaces like the Market place and our playgrounds have become busier. Ensuring that we take this next step safely has involved finding innovative ways to promote social distancing. We would like to thank the South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils for all their hard work supporting our resilient, lively and irrepressible market town!”
Liz Winton, Owner of the Granary Café in Watlington, said: “We would like to thank everyone who has supported the Granary Cafe during lockdown. We are so happy to be able to now invite everyone inside where the measures we have in place to keep people safe have been implemented with our customers in mind.”
The campaign and new materials are paid for by the government’s Covid Outbreak Management Funding (COMF), which is directed at continued efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
Businesses can access the free posters via: