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Peterborough City Council will spend £181,500 to kick-start work on social distancing measures to welcome back shoppers from mid-June.
Following the Government’s announcement that non-essential shops could begin re-opening from Monday, 15 June, the city council has been working closely with local businesses, including Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough Positive, Opportunity Peterborough and the Combined Authority to prepare for a ‘new normal’ in the city centre.
This will include the promotion of an open-air café-style culture, including the Guild Hall and St Peter’s Arcade, when bars, coffee shops and restaurants are expected to open in the summer. Other measures include new bicycle storage facilities, reorganised spaces in car parks, a health and safety audit of Peterborough City Market and widening of pavements to encourage people coming short distances into the city centre to walk and cycle.
Clear signage and floor markings will encourage people to stay apart and avoid close contact and to help with this, the Cathedral Square fountains will also be turned off to create more space for shoppers to socially distance.
Cleansing will also be further enhanced by Aragon Direct Services, in addition to the regular hotwash of the city centre and a daily cleanse of all benches and bins. Daily bench sanitising will also be carried out.
The funding will come from a £50million fund that the Government has set aside for the safe re-opening of cities and towns which was announced on Saturday (24 May).
Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “Our city centre will be ready to begin welcoming back shoppers from Monday, 15 June. The last few months have been tough for businesses, but we’ve got a strong economy and retail offering and are positioned better than most to weather this storm.
“We will be working closely with local businesses, Peterborough Positive, Opportunity Peterborough and the Combined Authority over the coming fortnight to ensure businesses feel supported and we will be reorganising sections of the city centre and putting up clear signage to help residents to socially distance.
“What we’re asking from residents in return is to walk and cycle into the city centre where they are able to do so, to be considerate of other shoppers and staff and to continue to stay at least 2 metres apart from one another, as they would when they go to a supermarket.”
Tom Hennessy, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough, said: “We’ve been in close communication with businesses over the past weeks and we know the Government’s announcement that non-essential shops can begin to re–open from Monday, 15 June was well received.
“No one is going to pretend that the past weeks have been easy for business – we’re supporting businesses as much as we can with one-to-one advice and information that will keep them and their customers safe, but also helping them adapt their business plans to ensure their survival. We will also help source suppliers of PPE, plastic screens and clear signage ready for their re-opening.”