A HUGE new campaign has been launched urging people to plan ahead before visiting Southend as lockdown eases.

“Visit Southend Safely” has been launched ahead of the reopening of various businesses on Saturday across the UK.

Braintree and Witham Times:

The "Visit Southend Safely" campaign logo 

The campaign, organised by Southend Council’s tourism arm Visit Southend, has issued the following advice: 

Plan ahead – We strongly recommend visitors plan ahead before leaving home. Pre-book accommodation if you are staying, and any activities you’d like to do.

Contact businesses – Not everything will be open and many businesses have altered their opening times. We recommend that you check businesses' own website or contact businesses directly to check their opening times and Covid-secure visiting arrangements. Look out for the Southend Safe kitemark too.

Attractions – To avoid queuing and disappointments, many attractions have now introduced online pre-bookable tickets and timed visits to manage numbers. There is a risk that if you visit without pre-booking that you may not be able to visit some or our more popular attractions.

Restaurants – Many eateries will require you to make an advance online reservation with many temporary takeaway options also available.

Payment – Contactless payment is now common practice across Southend. If you wish to pay with cash, it’s advisable to check with the business before your purchase.

Public transport – If you have to use public transport, please wear a face covering.

Kevin Robinson, councillor responsible for business, culture and tourism, said: “Over the course of the past few weeks, the council has been working hard with our tourism and hospitality businesses to ensure that everything is in place for you and your family to have a safe and enjoyable visit.

“This means that things will look and feel a little different and it’s important that you’re aware of these before you visit. Please be patient as things bed in, and please respect staff who are working to keep you safe, other visitors and residents too.”

Martin Terry, councillor responsible for community safety, said: “Southend is a responsible destination and government guidance will continue to be promoted and followed by our tourism businesses.

“I am really pleased with how the sector has worked together and is ready to welcome visitors in a safe and managed way. Social distancing and hand washing remain the key two actions that can help protect everyone; and the council and many businesses have invested in providing extra hygiene Covid-secure protocols to help you stay safe.

“Please follow and respect any additional measures put in place and act with consideration for those around you. Together, we need to do all that we can to protect the health of our local community and those visiting.

“We would also ask anyone with symptoms not to visit and follow the national guidance. That is to stay home, isolate and get tested. By doing these simple things we can all help stop the spread of Coronavirus.”

Visit www.visitsouthend.co.uk for further information.