All coastal towns in England will be eligible for government funding to help them reopen as restrictions are eased, under new plans set out by ministers. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the £56m fund would also “spruce up” high streets and help councils welcome visitors back safely. Pubs can erect marquees in their gardens for longer and there will be a crackdown on “cowboy parking firms”.
Labour said it was a “drop in the ocean” in terms of what areas needed.
England’s current “stay at home” regulations are expected to be lifted on 29 March, with most restrictions eased in various steps by the 21 June, based on certain conditions being met at each stage.
Announcing the latest tranche of funding, Mr Jenrick acknowledged it had been “an incredibly difficult period for retail and hospitality”.
He said the government would do everything it could to help businesses reopen safely.
There has been concern about how coastal areas in particular will cope with an expected influx of visitors.
When the first lockdown was eased last June, seaside resorts were gridlocked, with Bournemouth declaring a “major incident” as people flocked to the beach.
Mr Jenrick said that this time, £6m of the £56m Welcome Back fund would be specifically allocated to support coastal areas.
The remaining £50m will be distributed by central government to councils for things such as improving green spaces and providing more outdoor seating areas, markets and food pop-ups.
He also announced the government would be “cutting red tape” to allow pubs to erect marquees in their gardens for “the whole of the spring and summer”, rather than the 28 days currently permitted, ...
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