Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
6:00 AM 13th June 2020

Public Urged To Take Extra Care When High Streets Reopen

The public are being urged to take extra care when visiting high streets and town centres to avoid a second spike in coronavirus infection, as councils prepare for the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Around the country councils are putting in place measures to make high streets clean, safe and secure, but are asking the public to play their part by respecting social distancing measures.

It comes as non-essential shops and businesses will be able to re-open their doors on Monday (15 June).

The District Councils’ Network, which represents councils planning the safe reopening of town centres, wants the public to be reassured that safety measures will be in place for them to follow.

The Government recently announced £20 million for district councils to lead the local effort to safeguarding high streets following the pandemic, and councils are urging the public to follow safety guidance.

To make visits to town centres and high streets safe, councils are:-

Helping marshal movements with floor markings and signage

Carrying out more frequent street cleaning, providing hand-sanitiser posts, adapting public seating and conveniences

Creating more pedestrianised spaces and streets

Adapting indoor and outdoor market spaces to allow traders trading safely

Deploying council staff or volunteers to provide help and advice

Looking ahead councils are also putting in place plans to invest in the revitalisation of town centres of the future, including reshaping a mixed offer of retail, culture, entertainment and housing.

As local leaders of their places and economies, councils are calling on the Government to bring forward investments set out in the Towns Funding and Future High Streets Fund.

The plans form part of DCN’s new report Power in Place which outlines district councils’ five-point manifesto for the recovery.

Cllr Mark Crane, DCN lead member for stronger economies, said:

“As the country begins to ease lockdown restrictions, it is absolutely essential that we all continue to exercise maximum care and caution, so as to prevent a second spike in infection.

“District councils, as the authorities responsible for high streets and town centres, will be doing all they can to make public spaces as safe and secure as possible.

“We will be delighted to see visitors return to our high streets, which we’re working hard to reshape so that shops and businesses get the boost they desperately need, but without compromising public health.

“But we need members of the public to respect these efforts, and take extra care when visiting their local high streets and town centres during this challenging period.”