Bridgend County Borough Council has confirmed that council-maintained town centre car parks will be free to use between now and the end of July.
The announcement follows the recent update from Welsh Government enabling non-essential shops to reopen from today (22 June).
The free car parking concession is being provided as part of the council’s range of overall support for local businesses. In Bridgend town centre, it is available at the Rhiw and Brackla Street multi storeys as well as the open air car park behind Wilkinsons.
In Porthcawl, it will be available at the Hilsboro and John Street car parks. The car park at Salt Lake will remain temporarily closed until further notice,
The free car parking does not include Rest Bay car park, which is now open once more with pay-and-display machines in use. The Rest Bay boardwalk has also been opened, while free parking continues to be available at Pencoed and Maesteg.
In addition, Bridgend County Borough Council is providing local businesses with free training, advice and materials designed to help them reopen.
A new online resource has been uploaded to the council’s website which provides details on frequently asked questions such as how businesses can change the layout of their premises to help protect staff and customers, whether facemasks need to be worn, what changes shoppers can expect to see, why contactless payment should be encouraged and more.
The council has been providing businesses with free start-back training, and has made equipment available such as sneeze-guards which can be installed around tills and shop counters.
Businesses which complete the training receive certificates and window stickers which can be displayed to provide shoppers with further reassurance.
The council has also issued more than £28m in financial support to 2,256 local businesses since the start of the pandemic.
Cllr Richard Young, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “Local businesses need all the help they can get to meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, and I am pleased to confirm that the council will provide this free parking concession as part of our overall support.
“The pandemic is not over, and businesses and customers alike must continue to observe strict social distancing and other measures which are designed to limit potential exposure to the coronavirus.
“Please use our online resource to find out more, or contact employability or call 01656 643428 to book a place on the reopening training.”