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One-way systems, keep-left guidance and stewards: All the safety measures as Cambridge shops reopen

Details of public safety measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus as shops reopen in Cambridge city centre have been revealed.

One-way systems, ‘keep left’ advice to pedestrians, vehicle restrictions, widened footpaths, new signage and stewards encouraging social distancing will all be in place in the city as lockdown measures ease from Monday June 15, enabling ‘non-essential retail’ outlets to reopen.

Visitors have also been reminded that face coverings will be mandatory on public transport from that date - and both the government and World Health Organization have advised people to wear masks when in enclosed spaces like shops.

Public safety measures in place as Cambridge city centre shops reopen from June 15 (36478706)
Public safety measures in place as Cambridge city centre shops reopen from June 15 (36478706)

The programme of measures has been put together by Cambridge City Council, Cambridge BID, Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Greater Cambridge Partnership and Stagecoach to help people get about the city while maintaining social distancing.

From Monday, visitors can expect:

  • City centre stewards offering advice and help with the new management measures, including social distancing, wayfinding and other changes to the city centre;
  • Widened footways along sections of Regent Street, Bene’t Street and Bridge Street using temporary barriers;
  • Advisory vehicle restrictions on Market Hill to allow safe operation of the city centre market;
  • Fully pedestrianised areas and one-way systems with enforcement of traffic restrictions;
  • Signage to encourage people to walk on the left hand footway to help with safe pedestrian flows on narrow pavements;
  • One-way access to narrow passageways such as All Saints Passage and Market Passage;
  • New pedestrian and cycle signage to help pedestrians and cyclists navigate the city centre safely; and
  • Social distancing floor stickers to be used by businesses to help with customer queue management - these are also in place at multi-storey car parks to help customers queuing at payment machines and using lifts and stairwells.

The organisations say they will also support shops and other businesses, which are expected to put in place their own ‘Covid-19 secure’ measures, such as queuing systems, separate entrances and exits, one-way routes and limits on numbers.

The Grand Arcade, Grafton Centre and Lion Yard shopping centres are all opening, with safety measures in place.

Cambridge market. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge market. Picture: Keith Heppell

The city centre market will continue to be open with traders using perimeter pitches only.

A plan to reopen as many of the market’s other pitches as possible is being worked by the city council, which said it is taking account of the physical layout of the site, with its high stall density, narrow inner aisles and surrounding highways, which present health and safety challenges.

The organisations said the measures will be monitored and “may need to be adapted depending on their effectiveness and how national guidance changes”.

Cllr Rosy Moore, executive councillor for climate change, environment and city centre, said: “We know that sticking to social distancing advice is really important and that is why our plan for the reopening of the city centre focuses on that.

“Businesses are emerging from an extremely difficult time and we want to do all we can to support them as they welcome shoppers back.

Shops in Cambridge city centre will reopen from Monday June 15. Picture: Keith Heppell
Shops in Cambridge city centre will reopen from Monday June 15. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Our city centre has a medieval layout that includes narrow lanes and streets, posing real challenges when it comes to keeping people safely apart.

“There is no doubt that we will need everyone who is visiting or working in the city centre to help by staying two metres apart to make it work.

“I would also encourage anyone travelling in to walk or cycle if they can. Anyone using public transport should follow social distancing measures and the guidance on use of face coverings.

“This is a testing time for all of us and as we move forward with our package of measures we will continue to work together to keep everything under review and make further changes where we need to.”

Cambridge Business Improvement District has been offering advice to traders and businesses on matters such personal protective equipment, on-street queuing and signage ahead of reopenings.

Ian Sandison, chief executive of Cambridge BID
Ian Sandison, chief executive of Cambridge BID

Chief executive Ian Sandison said: “It has been a very challenging time for businesses and we have been supporting them during this period whilst some have remained trading and more recently as many are planning to reopen.

“Making consumers feel safe and confident is key to a successful return to trading and our guidelines, signs and posters will contribute towards this.

“We are working closely with the various local authorities to increase the amount of space for pedestrians and explore where more tables and outside seating can be installed.”

Cllr Ian Bates, chair of the highways and transport committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, added: “We’ve been working closely with town, district and city councils and the Combined Authority to ensure that when shoppers return to our high streets, they have enough space to observe social distancing and are clear about what they are supposed to do.

“Our county’s high streets, like the entire nation, have felt the impact of a loss of trade for many weeks. Now shoppers are returning, we are doing everything we can to support the vibrancy of towns and cities and to ensure customers can return in a safe way by providing the space to allow them to keep two metres apart.”

Not all shops will be open, and some may operate at different hours to usual, so shoppers are encouraged to check the opening times.

Meanwhile, more buses will be laid on for pedestrians, who must wear face coverings to travel.

You must wear a face mask or covering on public transport in the UK from June 15
You must wear a face mask or covering on public transport in the UK from June 15

Michelle Hargreaves, managing director of Stagecoach, said: “During this time, local Stagecoach bus services will be increasing in frequency to meet the demand of visitors to the city centre.

“Buses are adhering to social distancing measures and enhancing touch point cleaning to ensure the safety of all customers.”

Chief Inspector Nick Skipworth, of Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said: “The constabulary has worked with partners to offer advice as to how we can make the reopening of the historic city centre as safe as possible. Our city centre neighbourhood officers will be on hand to continue that support as businesses reopen.”

Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s executive board, said: “These safety measures will play a vital part in our economic recovery from Covid-19, and complement the recent announcements by the GCP and the county council to make it easier and safer for people to access the city on foot or on their bicycle.

“This excellent example of partnership work will not only support people and businesses in the short-term, but provide a strong foundation for our aims to create a step-change in the way people get around to create a more healthy and sustainable Greater Cambridge.”

The GCP has just announced the closure of Histon Road to citybound motor traffic from June 29 for up to a year so that it can progress its scheme to introduce a new bus lane and improve walking and cycling routes.

More information

For details of public toilets, visit www.cambridge.gov.uk/public-toilets

For car parking information, visit www.cambridge.gov.uk/parking

For national guidance on using public transport, visit www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers.

Read more

Cambridge Grand Arcade shopping centre to reopen

Histon Road in Cambridge to close to citybound traffic from June 29 for up to a year: Diversions and bus route changes revealed

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