Chelmsford city centre is set to re-open from Monday, June 15, with new social distancing measures in place. These measures include a ‘keep left’ system for pedestrians, street markings and new directional signage.
The government announced that all non-essential retailers will be allowed to reopen in England from Monday, as long as social distancing measures are implemented.
To ensure these new measures are as easy to follow as possible, vinyl floor markings will be placed along the pedestrianised footway, starting from Moulsham Street and finishing at the Shire Hall end of the High Street, including Springfield Road up to its junction with Bond Street.
These markings will display a clear message to ‘keep left’ and will be placed on both sides of the pedestrianised footway.
Additional information will also be put in place to encourage social distancing and the two-metre rule, while reinforcing the message of “be safe, be kind and be patient”. Signage will be used all around the city centre, including electronically, to ensure that the new rules are seen from car parks and before shoppers enter the main shopping areas.
The city council has developed these plans in partnership with One Chelmsford BID and Essex Highways.
The council’s Cabinet Deputy for the Economy and Small Business, Councillor Martin Bracken, said: “The pandemic has had a significant impact on our retailers and it is imperative that they have the opportunity to get back to business.
“But it must be done in a way that ensures retailers, their customers and pedestrians remain safe.”
He added, “Telling shoppers to keep to the left will reduce foot traffic from clashing when traveling in different directions and make social distancing easier. These temporary measures will rely on the co-operation of everyone. We ask you to please follow these new rules, which we will relax once it is declared safe to do so.”
BID Manager, Michael Wray, said: “As we plan to open up our high street, our absolute priority is to ensure the safety of our residents, visitors and the businesses which operate there.
“To support this, we are moving at pace to identify practical solutions to how we can encourage people back into our city centre, while maintaining social distancing practices which still allow for an enjoyable visitor experience.”
He added, “This is all as new to your local retailers and to other shoppers as it is to you, so please be patient. If you see something in a shop that doesn’t look quite right, please bring it to the attention of the staff and give them a chance to address it.”
There will be Street Ambassadors patrolling the high street from Monday. They will be the main point of contact for members of the public who have questions about shopping within the city centre, whilst reminding people of social distancing and the keep left policy.
The council and One Chelmsford have also created a toolkit for businesses in retail and commercial areas around the district which will help them to operate safely and to implement new ways of working to meet social distancing requirements. To request a copy, please email [email protected]
To keep up-to-date with all the latest information as Chelmsford’s retail, leisure and tourism businesses begin to reopen, follow Chelmsford For You on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or visit www.chelmsfordforyou.co.uk