High streets get ready for safe shoppingPublished Friday, 12th June 2020
High streets in Leicestershire and Rutland are gearing up for increased trade as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.
From June 15, more shops will be able to trade including those selling clothes, shoes and toys. Indoor markets are also due to reopen under government plans.
Councils in Leicestershire and Rutland have all been working with local businesses, partners and the NHS to ensure high streets are safe places for customers, traders, staff and visitors.
Various methods are being employed to help people stay safe. They include:
- the installation of floor markings, barriers and signage to support social distancing
- addition of hand sanitizer stations in some areas
- staff or volunteers being present in some shopping areas in Leicestershire to assist people and monitor the situation
- issuing of guidance to traders in some areas to help them protect customers and employees inside their premises
- introduction of one-way systems for pedestrians and traffic
- suspension of some parking bays to provide more pedestrian space
- closure of some streets
Council leaders are reminding shoppers that they must always follow the social distancing rules as this is still one of the fundamental ways the nation is tackling the pandemic.
Matt Bowers, chair of the Leicestershire Market Towns Group, said: “We are all keen to return to normality and this is a very welcome step, but we know it is critical that we all maintain social distancing.
“Redesigning our town centres into a covid-19 secure shopping areas at a time when rules are constantly changing has been a challenge for us all, but we must continue to adapt and be flexible to ensure the safety and vitality of our residents and businesses. I’d urge visitors to please support our local businesses, but to do so safely by following the guidance.”
Councillor Trevor Pendleton, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “As the highways authority, we’re working closely with our neighbouring council colleagues to gear up in readiness for the re-opening of our market towns from next Monday.
“We’re doing all we can to support a safe return to shopping and trading and provide a much-needed boost to the local economy.
“More widely across the county, where it’s not possible to put some of the town centre measures in place, we’re encouraging people to continue following the Government guidelines about staying two metres apart.
“If we all pull together and use our common sense, we can make a huge difference for those needing to get around in what remains a difficult and testing time for all.”
Councillor Oliver Hemsley, Leader of Rutland County Council, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming our residents and visitors back to Rutland. Our teams are working hard to ensure our High Streets are a safe place to shop and visit.
“To help people prepare and plan their visit to either Oakham or Uppingham, we have worked with Uppingham and Oakham Town Councils to develop plans and create a dedicated website featuring information on road changes and the special measures shops are implementing.”
In some towns more cycle racks are being added to encourage cycling and, in some areas, where parking charges were suspended, they are being re-introduced.
Leicestershire County Council is developing ‘pop-up’ walking and cycling routes and is bidding for funding from the Government’s Emergency Action Travel Fund to progress its plans.
People planning to visit one of Leicestershire’s local towns are strongly encouraged to visit their local council website for more information. For information about roads and travel, please look at websites for Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council or Rutland County Council.
People in Leicestershire and Rutland are also being reminded to continue washing their hands frequently and that they should wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. From 15 June, people must wear a face covering on public transport.
More advice is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Notes to editors
The Local Resilience Forum (LRF) for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is the multi-agency partnership made up of representatives from local public services, including the emergency services, local authorities, the NHS and others.
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