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The latest phase of the campaign, which aims to help businesses bounce back from the pandemic by promoting the steps they are taking to make their places safe, was launched yesterday by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street at the Black Country Living Museum.

With coronavirus restrictions also being eased yesterday, allowing the public into indoor areas at hospitality venues and entertainment and visitor attractions including museums and galleries, people are being encouraged to support these businesses.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands said:

“Hospitality and tourism businesses have had to wait a long time to reopen their doors to customers, but now they’re back open we want people to visit their local venues and show their support.

“These venues are taking sensible precautions and are being reopened safely, for example using table service, requiring visitors to pre-book, and keeping to limited numbers. Our Open for Business, Safely campaign is highlighting the safety measures businesses are taking, such as those at the Black Country Living Museum where we launched the next phase of the campaign.

“Businesses have done their bit by making themselves safe, now it’s our duty as residents to do our bit and visit local businesses and support them by spending some money, all whilst adhering to Covid safety precautions.”

The Open for Business, Safely campaign encourages local companies to use the hashtag #WMOpen4Biz and share on social media details of the steps they have taken to invite customers and members of staff back on to their premises safely.

The Mayor visited the Black Country Living Museum – which is concurrently currently being used as an NHS vaccination centre - yesterday afternoon (Monday 17 May) with Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council.

Black Country Living Museum chief executive Andrew Lovett said:

“We’re delighted that the Mayor and Cllr Harley chose to visit the Museum to mark the second phase of the Open for Business, Safely campaign. 

“At the Black Country Living Museum we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that we’re Covid-secure, while making the visitor experience engaging and accessible. Maintaining consumer confidence is key to encouraging people to visit, which is vital to us as an independent organisation. 

“We’re incredibly grateful for the support that we’ve received from our visitors; it really does mean the world to us. Therefore, it’s important that we continue to demonstrate the steps we’re taking to keep people safe and I’d encourage other businesses to do the same. By staying safe we can stay open.”

Cllr Ian Brookfield, WMCA portfolio lead for economy and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said:

“It has been a big step for the region as people go out once again to venues that have reopened indoors. Businesses have worked very hard to ensure Covid-secure arrangements are in place.

“Now we’re asking people to keep to the Covid safety restrictions and safely visit these businesses and help reinvigorate the region’s hospitality and tourisms sectors”.

Businesses can get involved in the Open for Business Safely campaign by using their social media accounts with the tag @WestMids_CA and the hashtag #WMOpen4Biz to show what they have done to make their business or offices COVID-secure.

This can include measures such as social distancing floor stickers and hand sanitising stations. They can put up a #WMOpen4Biz poster in their workplace to get across the message they are safe to visit. Local authorities, public bodies, business organisations and charities are also being encouraged to get involved by posting their support online.