A range of measures are being put in place to protect and reassure local shoppers ahead of non-essential shops reopening next week.
From Monday 15 June 2020 non-essential shops and services are allowed to reopen under government rules.
Harlow Council has been working on an action plan to ensure that shopping areas it is responsible for are both safe for the public to visit and support the reopening of shops.
All measures are designed to protect shoppers from the spread of the virus and follow the latest government public health guidance for high streets and shopping areas. The measures will be regularly monitored and reviewed if necessary.
Across the town centre a one-way pedestrian system (pdf) will be implemented to help shoppers maintain social distancing. Signage has also been put up along with floor signs and queuing systems will be in place outside shops. There are similar measures in the Harvey Centre and The Water Gardens.
In addition vehicle access will be temporarily restricted in Broad Walk to ensure there is no interference with the pedestrianised one-way system. Due to groups gathering in Market Square temporary barriers may be put up if this continues.
Town centre hosts working in Broad Walk and Terminus Street will also be on hand to provide advice and guidance to shoppers on the measures. Police and council Community Safety Officers will be on regular patrol.
Social distancing will remain in place within the seating areas of the bus station and a one-way system and queuing system will be in place. Social distancing markers will be in place at the taxi ranks.
Toilets at the bus station will remain open and with additional cleaning measures in place.
Where possible shoppers are encouraged to walk, cycle or travel by car to the town centre. This will allow buses to be used for essential workers. From Monday face coverings on buses will also be mandatory. For cyclists there are around 70 cycle racks in the town centre. All town centre car parks are open as normal, but shoppers using them should socially distance from others. Council-run car parks at Post Office Road and Wych Elm will remain free to park in until further notice.
The council has shared information with landlords, building owners and shops on what measures they need to take. It will be up to individual businesses to ensure that they follow government guidance within their shops and buildings.
Within the neighbourhood shopping centres at Bush Fair and The Stow queuing systems will be introduced outside those shops reopening and signs reminding people to socially distance will be put up. Car parks are open as normal but again visitors are asked to keep apart from others. All car park charges are currently suspended until further notice.
To help stop the spread of the virus shoppers are asked to:
- wash their hands regularly or use hand sanitiser
- keep their distance from others at all times
- wear face coverings on public transport
- stay at home and don’t go out if they or any one from their household has coronavirus symptoms