Council offering raft of measures to support businesses hit by pandemic

Portishead High Street in May 2020.

Portishead High Street in May 2020. - Credit: Archant

New initiatives to help businesses respond to the crisis have been developed by North Somerset Council during an ‘exceptionally challenging year’. 

The council said lockdowns and restrictions to fight Covid-19 have had an ‘unprecedented impact’ on companies throughout the area, and the authority has been offering free advice, guidance and developing new initiatives to help owners respond to the challenges of the pandemic. 

Portishead High Street.

Portishead High Street. - Credit: Tracey Fowler

In the past year, North Somerset Council has responded to more than 1,400 questions about what businesses could and could not do under ‘ever-changing’ government rules. Officers responsible for enforcing the law, which includes licensing, food and safety and trading standards teams, also advised on how to make changes so businesses could keep running safely. 

North Somerset Council executive member with responsibility for economy, Cllr Mark Canniford, said: “The impact of Covid-19 on our businesses has been immense and we’ve been doing all we can to support owners, managers and staff through this last difficult year. 

“The amount of change everyone has had to cope with going in and out of lockdown and understanding and responding to constant rule changes has been extremely difficult. 

North Somerset Councillor, Mark Canniford.

North Somerset Councillor, Mark Canniford. - Credit: Archant

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“Our teams have been doing all they can to respond and help keep businesses supported throughout.” 

As well as being on-hand to give advice to businesses owners, a range of initiatives have also been developed, such as the recent launch of a virtual high street guide and social media training. 

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The guide, which is available for every shopper in North Somerset, connects businesses to customers by letting shoppers see nearby shops, cafés, restaurants, hairdressers and beauticians, and linking to relevant social media.

There are guides for Weston, Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead high streets, to make it easier for people to support local businesses.

Nailsea High Street. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Nailsea High Street. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

North Somerset Council also produced a guide to run through the rules on what businesses were required to know about when and how to reopen during the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. 

To sign up to use the virtual high street guide, log-on to 

Businesses can get free social media training by logging on to 

Finally, the reopening guide for businesses is available at 

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