Find out about the reopening of pubs and the return of Columbia Road Flower Market

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Tower Hamlets bannerMessage from the Mayor

On 23 June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that from tomorrow (4 July) more businesses can reopen providing they adhere to Covid secure guidelines. This is really positive news and will help our economy and community but we must remain vigilant if we are to continue to prevent coronavirus infections. That means protecting ourselves and each other by staying local, practicing good hygiene and wearing a face covering in busy places and on public transport. Better still if you find a place is crowded and it’s possible, it would be wise to go somewhere else, or go back later. In other parts of the country there have been flare ups of the virus and we must still be very careful. Further information on what you can and cannot do from this weekend is on the government's website.

Our amazing range of markets have also begun to open as part of a staged return with new layouts to facilitate social distancing and manage crowd control. You can read more about this below but you know what I’m going to add: be careful of crowds.

Our community's response to tackling coronavirus has been incredible. Across the borough people have gone above and beyond and we have tried to support them wherever possible. In recent months we have transformed the council to do what was needed to support our community. From emergency funding for businesses and the voluntary sector, to our food delivery programme and support for residents who are shielding, we acted to fill the need caused by coronavirus. This has, however, meant increased costs and lost income have had a big financial impact. While we’ve had some additional funding from government it is nowhere near what we need to cover the cost of the response. Government called on everyone to ‘play their part’ and committed to doing ‘whatever it takes’ to help people during this time. Now government must put its money where its mouth is.

You may also be aware that members of the Unison union started strike action today. We are deeply disappointed this is the case but respect their right to do so. The council is well prepared and has measures in place to ensure our residents and businesses remain supported. You can read about our plans and see our response to the union's claims on our website.

And finally, I hope you will join me in showing your appreciation for all those who have been central to the response to coronavirus, both in our borough and around the country, by taking part in the biggest clap for our carers yet at 5pm this Sunday. The clap coincides with the birthday of the NHS and will recognise everyone helping keep our community safe at this difficult time. 

Enjoy your weekend but please remember to stay safe as you do,

Mayor John Biggs

Local coronavirus outbreak control plan

Keeping Tower Hamlets safe

This week we published our local coronavirus outbreak control plan, Keep Tower Hamlets Safe. The plan sets out how we will work with partners to prevent and manage coronavirus outbreaks that may occur in the borough.

Effective testing and contact tracing are critical to preventing outbreaks, so a key part of our plan is promoting the national NHS Test and Trace programme. Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus must stay at home and arrange a test immediately through NHS Test and Trace. You can arrange a test by calling 119 or booking online.

Read more >

High streets reopening

Shop safe, Shop local

Columbia Road Flower Market will reopen this Sunday from 8am - 2pm but it’s going to look and feel quite different. For everyone’s safety, we need to spread out the stalls, close some extra roads and limit the number of people who can be in the market at the same time. If you live in the area, please stop by and support your local businesses. But if you live further away, please consider visiting a market closer to home and helping us to avoid unsafe overcrowding. We’ll be delighted to welcome you back in the future, but for now we need to put safety first.

Many high street shops are also starting to reopen. They've been working hard to introduce new layouts designed to help make social distancing easier and slow the spread of coronavirus and your understanding as they work through the challenges of this period is very much appreciated.

The threat of the virus is still here so please keep a safe distance from others while walking the aisles. We should all also remember to wear a face covering in busy areas and on public transport. Try to shop local when you can and remember to wash your hands regularly to protect yourself, your loved ones and your neighbours.

Find out more >

Blue support the NHS graphic

Put your hands together for the NHS this Sunday

Join the nation with one big clap at 5pm on Sunday 5 July to say #ThankYouTogether to the NHS and the carers, delivery drivers, key workers and absolutely everyone who is helping at this difficult time. The country-wide clap coincides with the birthday of the NHS and is being used to thank not only our wonderful health and care workers, but also key workers and all those playing a part in keeping us healthy, safe and supported.

You’re also encouraged to display a thank you message in your window, put a light on to remember those we have lost and after Sunday’s big clap, raise a glass, mug or cuppa to thank each other for tackling this challenge together. It’s also a great opportunity to have a chat to your neighbours or reach out to someone who may be lonely or isolated.

We’re so proud of the way that our communities, partner organisations, volunteers and staff have responded to the pandemic. If you haven’t already, check out our #TowerHamletsTogether film, which highlights the incredible local effort in recent months.

How to take part >


If you fancy a swift one, make sure to do it safely

With pubs reopening this weekend, we know that some of you will be looking forward to a pint in the sun. We want you to have fun and support your local venues, but please remember to put safety first. 

Pubs have been asked to make more space between tables so if your local looks full, think about going elsewhere or maybe opting for a drink in the garden instead. If you do pay a visit to the pub, make use of any apps to order from your table, keep a safe distance from those around you and wash your hands regularly. 

Discretionary Grants Scheme

Funding available for small businesses and charities

In response to the pandemic, the government announced support for small businesses through the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund.

Although this brought relief for many, some businesses were excluded from these grants as they did not fall into certain categories and were not business ratepayers. 

A new Discretionary Grants Scheme has been launched to support small businesses, market traders and charities that could not apply for previous schemes. Applications can be made until Monday 6 July 2020.

Read more >

Children playing connect four

New Summer dates announced for Holiday Childcare Scheme

The Tower Hamlets Holiday Childcare Scheme will be open on week days from Monday 27 June to Friday 21 August. Booking opens on Monday 6 July at 12 noon.

Places are limited and due to current restrictions, we have less capacity than usual. Places are to be awarded on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis.

Learn more and register >

Roman Road plan layout

Have your say on safer streets in Bow

Did you know there are more than 33,000 motor vehicle journeys in Bow on an average day and almost half of those are just cutting through the area?

We want to improve walking routes around the area with wider decluttered pavements, improved street lighting, cycle parking, greenery and school streets where roads will be closed to motor vehicles at drop-off and pick-up times.

Check out proposals for safer streets, cleaner air and easier local journeys and take part in our survey to help shape the future of Bow.

Have your say >

Coronavirus: useful links

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