A TEAM tasked with preparing shoppers and businesses for further easing of the coronavirus lockdown will introduce stencilled guides and advisory signage in Uttoxeter town centre. Queue zones outside shops and signs reminding people to adhere to social distancing will be in place before non-essential stores reopen from Monday, June 15.
The new measures have been funded by a £106,000 Safer Distancing in Town Centres grant from the Government to East Staffordshire Borough Council (ESBC). Cabinet Support Member at ESBC and Uttoxeter Town Mayor, Sue McGarry has been leading the initiative and visited Uttoxeter yesterday (Tuesday) with a team of people, identifying areas to implement guides for shoppers and businesses.
She said: “We have gone to the main two High Streets in Burtin and Uttoxeter to look at areas where we need to highlight that social distancing must take place. Stencils indicating the 2m distance rule will be painted in certain areas, with ‘Stay Alert’ signs installed as well. We will also identify areas where we may need to create a one-way system so people can get to things like cash machines while still avoiding queues outside banks. We need to put these systems in place, we’ve chatted to some shopkeepers already and they have welcomed the idea.”
The stencilled guidance will be painted in various areas of the town centre later this week, with staff potentially working through the weekend to ensure guidance and information signage is in place before Monday, when the Government has said non-essential stores can reopen for the first time since March.
Cllr McGarry added: “Uttoxeter Town Council have been working with ESBC to make sure that everything is covered. The shop frontages are smaller in Uttoxeter than in Burton, so we’re looking at ways that queueing outside is made safe. There will also be posters in shop fronts that highlight the guidance and reminding people to keep to that 2m distance. Each shop will be able to wipe-on and wipe-off their details on the posters to tell customers how many people are allowed into the shop at a time. At the end of the day it’s a completely different normal now, but we want to get back to some normality – we want people back in the High Street. We want people to have confidence to come back into town. It’s all about keeping customers safe, but also retailers and their staff. The third phase of this will be in July, when pubs, hairdressers and restaurants will start to reopen. We are talking to them about what we are doing and will discuss with them what they need so we are ready for that.”
A small enforcement team will be visiting Burton and Uttoxeter town centres to ensure the new guidelines are adhered to and also to offer advice to shops and customers struggling with the measures.
Cllr McGarry said: “The residents of the borough are very responsible and they will take a lot of that responsibility on their own shoulders to make sure Uttoxeter, Burton and the wider area, remains safe. “We’ve had two weeks to do this and the task force have been brilliant. We will work through the weekend if we have to, to make sure everything is ready.”
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