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City centre ready to welcome back shoppers  
City centre ready to welcome back shoppers  

Peterborough City Centre is ready to begin welcoming back shoppers from Monday (15 June), with an emphasis on ‘shopping local’ following a relaxation of the Government’s Covid-19 lockdown, with more open-air cafés, pubs and restaurants to follow in the summer.  

From Monday, non-essential shops will begin re-opening their doors to try and recoup lost profits over the past 12 weeks. They are now completing the recommended Government Covid-19 risk assessment and putting the final touches to their stores, with oneway systems, closed changing rooms, counter screens and a raft of new measures to ensure the safety of both staff and customers 

It is expected that bars and restaurants will follow suit in July with plans to allow many to spill out onto the pavements and areas like Cathedral Square and the Guild Hall to maximise footfall while allowing social distancing to still take place. 

Be Smart, Stay Apart, Thank You – Advice for shoppers 

  • Social distancing measures will be in place – Social distancing of two metres will be promoted, with clear signage and volunteer marshals from the city’s Covid-19 coordination hub on hand to guide and instruct from a distance for the first seven working days. 
  • Shop Local – To limit your interaction with others we recommend that you shop at stores that are local to you. This will also help businesses which employ city residents and benefit our local economy to bounce back following Covid-19. 
  • Check opening times – Not all shops will be open and some are operating under new staggered opening times. Either call the shop or check online before traveling into the city centre to avoid disappointment and a wasted trip. 
  • Avoid peak times – All stores will have a maximum number of customers they can allow in their store and a limited space for queuing. You may be asked to return later if it is busy. To try and avoid this we ask residents to plan their journeys away from peak times of 11am to 2pm.   
  • Toilet facilities – Be aware there are reduced toilet facilities in the city centre at this time. The bus station toilets will be closed. The toilets in Queensgate on Level 1 will be fully operational including baby changing, ladies/gents and disabled with increased cleaning. The Car Haven toilets will be fully open from Mon-Fri (8am-5pm) and Sat/Sun (10am-4pm), including ladies/gents, disabled and a specially adapted changing places facility. 
  • Parking – Council owned car parks will continue to be free of charge until 13 July. 
  • Practice good hand hygiene – Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. Further information. 
  • Walk or cycle short distances – It’s easier and safer to walk or cycle short distances, rather than relying on public transport. To help you do this, we’re introducing pop-up cycle lanes, wider pavements, more bicycle storage and are investigating non-touch traffic crossings in the city centre. 
  • If travelling by bus, check times before you leave and wear a face covering – Operators are still running a reduced service. Check for the latest bus timetables on the Travelchoice website before you travel. Also, from 15 June, new Government legislation has made it compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport. Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. For example, primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions.  
  • Do not attend if you or your household are suffering from Covid-19 symptoms – if you or anyone in your home have related symptoms or are suffering from Covid-19 you must not leave your home. 

How we are making your journey safe 

  • Covid-19 Risk Assessments – All shops and public areas have been asked to complete the Government’s Covid-19 risk assessment and to display this in their windows. This includes measures such as one-way systems, closed changing rooms, counter screens and a raft of new measures to ensure the safety of both staff and customers. The council’s regulatory services team will be monitoring this over the coming weeks. Further information on this is available on the council’s website. 
  • Enhanced street cleaning – Aragon Direct Services will begin a regular hot wash of the city centre and a daily cleanse of all benches, bins and other high touch points. 
  • St Peter’s Arcade will be closed – Following a Covid-19 risk assessment, the railings and limited space available in accessing the arcade from St Peter’s Road has led to a decision to temporarily close the arcade. This will also allow the Argo Lounge to expand into the arcade and onto the Bridge Street. 
  • City Market – Following a Covid-19 risk assessment, a limited number of stalls in the market will be able to open. We are looking at options to move others outdoors to allow social distancing. 
  • Highway changes to allow more people to walk and cycle into the city (all of the following are temporary changes in line with Covid-19): 
    Cowgate – From 15 June, parking bays suspended to allow more room for pedestrians and businesses 
    Broadway – From 15 June, the parking bays near Westgate will be suspended to allow more room for pedestrians and cyclists. Upper Broadway (Northminster to Burghley Square) will have parking bays suspended and pop-up cycle lanes installed within eight weeks. 
    Cattle Market Road – From 15 June, parking bays suspended to allow more room for pedestrians. 
    City Road – Within eight weeks, a pop-up cycle lane will be installed between St Johns and Northminster (westbound only).  
    Crescent Bridge – Within eight weeks, the east bound lane will be removed to install a pop-up cycle lane. 
    Cross Street and King Street – Looking at options to close these roads to through traffic. 
    Priestgate and Wentworth Street – Within eight weeks, these roads will become one-way with parking bays suspended. 
  • Buses  
  • The main bus station in Queensgate will be open with a one-way system in place, calling for people to keep left and other social distancing measures, including reduced seating and a limit on people using the lift at the same time. Toilets will remain closed at the moment. 
  • The temporary bus station at Ackland Street which is open-air will remain open. 
  • Parking – Council owned car parks will continue to be free of charge until 13 July. 
  • Cafes, bars and restaurants – When the Government relaxes its social distancing guidelines next month, we expect cafes, bars and restaurants to begin re-opening. To help with this, we are working with these businesses to create more outdoor space, creating an open-air café style culture. 

All this is being coordinated by the Peterborough Economic Recovery Programme (PERP), a partnership comprising of Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Peterborough Positive, Opportunity Peterborough and large outlets like Queensgate Shopping Centre. The PERP has also consulted with Disability Peterborough and the city’s Safer Off the Streets partnership. 

Together, the PERP has reached out to help city businesses recover from the impact of Covid-19, giving support and guidance on how to get their businesses started again. In the future, it will look to help these businesses build back stronger and to support independents in moving towards an additional e-commence model to future proof their business. 

The measures, which aim to protect both shoppers and businesses from Covid-19, have been made possible thanks to the Government’s Re-Opening High Streets Safely Fund, from which it will be possible for the city council to claim back £181,500. 

Councillor Marco Cereste, cabinet member for waste, street scene and the environment at Peterborough City Council, said: “We understand that some of residents may be eager to get some much-needed retail therapy, while others will be a bit more cautious and about venturing out. That’s why we want to give people all the information they need to know before they plan their visit, including what to expect and what the city is doing to help keep them safe.  

“In return, we’re asking shoppers to take notice of the social distancing signage, to be polite and courteous to each other and to our volunteer marshals, who are giving up their own time to help keep you safe. 

Tom Hennessy, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough, said: “The re-opening of non-essential shops from Monday is good news for our city centre and the shops within it, many of which have felt the impact of a loss of trade for many weeks.  

“We are fortunate in Peterborough, as we know our economy is strong and our High Street has a profitable retail offering. We’ve been working closely with businesses over the past week to ensure they are supported and prepared for re-opening and have the tools and skills to be able to do this confidently. It is imperative that we do whatever we can to kick-start trade in a safe and controlled way. 

Further information on the changes that are being planned is available at www.peterborough.gov.uk/besmartstayapart 

Retailers looking for business development support can visit: https://www.opportunitypeterborough.co.uk/business-support/coronavirus/guidance-for-retailers-reopening-after-lockdown/

For advice from Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Trading Standards, visit: https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/healthcare/public-health/coronavirus/coronavirus-covid-19-support-and-advice-for-business