Work has started getting Slough's businesses safe and ready for this weekend's easing of the lockdown - as the High Street marks its new start as a Business Improvement District (BID).

BIDS are a relatively new phenomenon in which a large area of businesses agree to work together - paying 1.75per cent of their rateable value to cover the cost of their own wardens, their own marketing manager and director.

The whole Slough central area including the High Street set up a BID early this year, just as lockdown took hold.

Now it is facing its first big test as bars, restaurants and other businesses reopen on Saturday.

BID director Craig Buckby said: "We looked at a number of actions to help our businesses to become COVID 19 ready so that they could open giving full confidence to their customers and their staff that the premises are as safe as they possibly could be.

"The one option that stood out was the use of 'fogging'.

"The BID has contracted with ABM UK Critical Solutions. Their service if to spray (fogging) a COVID 19 barrier over key areas within the premises and this barrier gives 30 days protection against the virus. Five businesses have benefited so far covering a number of sectors from dentists to café/restaurants, recruitment agency, hairdressing and office.

"We have the ability to provide this to 50 businesses within the town centre." 
Businesses can visit the BID web site and select the COVID 19 page where you will find full details of the process with a video and application form.

Mr Buckby said: "We want to put the pride back into Slough town centre. It had been allowed to slip. We have five years to do it before members vote to see if they want BID to continue."

He warned that BID's wardens would work with the police but would take tough action against begging.