Here's the latest Argus column by Kevin Ward, manager and the Newport Now Business Improvement District:

MANY businesses in Newport city centre – just like town and city centres across the UK – will be considering the measures they will need to take to re-open when Covid-19 lockdown measures are eased.

We have all become used to social distancing and queueing systems in shops which have remained open during the lockdown.

It is highly unlikely such restrictions will change when ‘non-essential’ businesses are cleared to open their doors again.


Making a living while keeping staff and customers safe will be a huge challenge for many small businesses.

They will have to find ways to limit numbers in their premises at any one time, provide PPE equipment for their staff, implement safe queueing and/or one-way systems in store, and consider how exits and entrances might need to be adapted.

While such measures can be introduced at large premises with relative ease, doing the same in a small independent shop will be far more difficult.

BIDs, such as Newport Now, will have a crucial role to play in the planning and implementation of recovery strategies for high streets.

For instance, Newport Now is considering whether we could provide a collective procurement service for independent traders who need pavement and window signage or PPE equipment. When it is safe for them to resume their patrols, our ambassadors could have a role in managing social distancing measures.

If restaurants, cafes and bars have to implement social distancing – which is almost certain – most will lose at least 60 per cent of their tables. That could put many independents out of business.

BIDs across the nation are in discussions with local authorities and others about how this can be avoided by re-purposing public space on high streets. This might mean traffic being banned from town and city centres either permanently or at certain times to free up roads for pedestrians and enable pavement space to be used for outdoor dining areas.

The only certainty of a post-coronavirus world is that it will be different to the one we were used to before the pandemic.