Luton BID, Luton Borough Council and other partners have been getting the town centre ready for businesses and visitors as government restrictions are lifted (15 June).
Whilst supermarkets and shops selling essential household goods have been open throughout the lockdown, preparations are underway for the opening of non-essential shops from 15 June. Luton BID, the council, The Mall, the Galaxy and Culture Trust Luton’s campaign, ‘Luton together – moving forward’ is supporting local businesses and putting appropriate measures in place to minimise the risk to people’s health.
Luton BID are liaising with businesses on protecting customers and employees inside their premises by providing them with safety information and starter packs that include physical distancing signage, floor markings and face masks. The council’s economic development and public protection teams are working with local businesses to support and give guidance as well as make some changes to the layout of key routes and walkways. People are also being reminded that if they have any Covid-19 symptoms, however mild, they need to stay at home.
Cllr Sian Timoney, portfolio holder responsible for economic development and business support and BID Board Director said, “ We appreciate how difficult the past few months have been for non-essential retail businesses in Luton but from Monday we will see them able to open. We want people to know that if they are coming out to shop our priority is to ensure that Luton is as safe as it can be for everyone visiting and working in the town and we are committed to supporting local retailers and businesses to enable this.
“Working with our partners, we have looked carefully at the town centre and planned how people can navigate around whilst sticking to social distancing rules and so creating a shopping area that visitors feel confident and comfortable coming to”.
Gavin O’Brien, Chair of Luton Business Improvement District (BID) and CEO of town centre based business Clearhead, said…
“As a BID our role is to do everything we can to support the businesses in Luton town centre. This week our focus is on delivering Business COVID Recovery Starter Packs. These packs contain social distancing floor graphics, tape and a window poster, hand washing poster, a business compliance poster and masks.”
“All are designed to help businesses to manage the risk associated with COVID-19 and to prepare for reopening. The response to these packs has been really positive. Every business is different of course and has varying needs and although these packs do not provide an exhaustive list of contents they are equipping people with confidence and support as they prepare to reopen.”
- Welcome signs will be in place in 4 key entrance areas of the town highlighting the changes that can be expected when visiting the town and signposting to a website with up-to-date information on which shops are open.
- Floor graphics and signage will be visible around the town centre reminding people to follow social distancing guidance and to advise shoppers where to queue outside individual shops, and where the entry points are to The Mall. There will also be a traffic light system in place at The Mall to let people know how busy it is as a limited number of people will be able to enter at any one time.
- Marshalls will be on hand in the town to help manage any queues and social distancing.
- George St will be one way for pedestrians, with directional signage in place, with the aim of creating safe queuing zones and pedestrian flows in these areas.
- There will be closures to vehicles on some streets to allow for safe pedestrian use: Wellington Street between Stuart Street and George Street; Chapel Street between Flowers Way and George Street; George Street between Wellington Street and Upper George Street, and Upper George Street between George Street and Dunstable Place.
- There will be enhanced cleaning of touch points such as railings as well as sanitising stations at key locations in The Mall.
- Some street furniture has been removed including the pagodas to allow free movement and prevent non socially distanced congregations of people. There is still plenty of seating available for visitors.
- Car parking charges will be reinstated in council owned carparks and at the Mall from Monday 15 June. Charges have already been reinstated for on street parking- pay and display bays to help support the reopening of the town, by ensuring a turnover in availability of parking places.
- People are being encouraged to cycle or walk into the town centre, wherever possible which will not only help reduce any traffic but will also be good for the environment.
- If you do need to use public transport please remember that face coverings are mandatory from 15 June.
- Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms should remain at home.
Some of the measures may need to be adapted but people will be kept up-to-date through the websites and on social media.
Partners have also worked to create this digital map indicating safe routes and other information HERE.