As more shops across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole prepare to reopen on 15 June, those visiting town centres, high streets and shopping areas are being asked to “keep left” as well as “keep your distance”, in a bid to control Covid-19 and support social distancing.
A huge effort across the BCP Council area is seeing almost 1,500 signs erected on lamp columns, stuck to bins, placed on the ground and even wrapped around pedestrian bollards, reminding us all of national advice to continue to observe social distancing to protect ourselves and others. Neither councils nor the police can enforce social distancing measures, so the signage is designed to encourage people to take personal responsibility.
Cllr Mark Howell, portfolio holder for Economy, Regeneration and Culture said, “These measures should give people the confidence to visit their preferred shopping area again, taking the opportunity to support local businesses and enjoy much-missed retail therapy.” He continued, “I am also pleased to announce that we are working with local artists to create some high-impact street artwork for key shopping areas in July.”
Installation of signage has already started in those areas expected to be busiest once shops reopen - the main town centres of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, with more being rolled out in local shopping areas as well as key leisure locations throughout the coming weeks.
These are in addition to specific measures already announced for key areas where social distancing in shopping locations would be difficult without changes. These are:
- Ashley Road, Parkstone – traffic cones to create extra space outside of Waitrose
- Wimborne Road, Winton – suspension of street parking to widen footpath into parking area
- Southbourne Grove, Southbourne - suspension of street parking to widen footpath
The council has also been working with local businesses to offer advice and guidance on social distancing measures, queue management, removal of street clutter, and cleansing regimes along with links to relevant government advice and business support.
‘Keep Left’ is being advised on all footpaths and pedestrian areas to keep movement flows in same direction. This tried, tested and understandable format will mean people needing to keep to the left hand side of a footpath/pedestrianised area, road crossing point, beach promenade, beach zig-zags, in the direction that they are travelling, so as that people travelling in the opposite direction can pass on the right.