Bridgend County Borough Council is providing local businesses with free training, advice and materials designed to help them to prepare for reopening.

Following the recent Welsh Government announcement that non-essential shops and businesses will be able to re-open from Monday 22 June as long as they maintain social distancing and measures to protect staff and customers from potential exposure to the coronavirus, a new online resource has been uploaded to the council’s website.

Designed to be regularly updated with latest news and advice, the online resource provides details on frequently asked questions such as how businesses can change the layout of their premises to help protect staff and customers, whether facemasks need to be worn, what changes shoppers can expect to see, why contactless payment should be encouraged and more.

The council has been providing businesses with free start-back training to support reopening, and has made equipment available such as sneeze-guards which can be installed around tills and shop counters.

More than 220 businesses have signed up to complete the start-back training so far, but places are limited and must be booked in advance. All those that complete the training will receive certificates and window stickers which can be displayed to provide shoppers with reassurance.

The Leader, Cllr Huw David, said: “Bridgend County Borough Council is doing all it can to support local businesses as they prepare for reopening, and I would encourage any trader who hasn’t already done so to take advantage of the free advice and guidance that we are making available.

“As further changes are made, the online resource will be regularly updated with new developments, and our Employability team will support you in booking on to the free training, accessing the sneeze-guards and more.

“Residents will also notice changes happening within the commercial environment to support social distancing and help traders to operate effectively.”

Local business owner Dave Easterbrook of Fizzy Foam is one of the traders who has completed the training.

He said: “We are very grateful to Bridgend County Borough Council for the Covid-19 training, and for supplying the sneeze-guards which has given us confidence and the ability to prepare to open safely, enabling us to protect our customers and those who work in our business.”

Businesses can find out more about the free online training and sneeze guards by contacting employability or calling 01656 643428.