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As Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are relaxed, the County Council is putting measures in place in preparation for the safe reopening of many of North Yorkshire’s high street businesses in June.
North Yorkshire County Council’s Highways teams are working with partners in district and borough councils, the police and the national parks to help businesses to open safely and to enable residents to shop with confidence.
To keep the public and businesses informed with up to date details of the steps being taken, the county council has created dedicated web pages at www.northyorks.gov.uk/socialdistancing
Measures can include putting out cones that will temporarily remove some on-street parking spaces and temporary road closures to make it easier for pedestrians to observe social distancing to tackle the spread of Covid-19. Some such measures have already been seen over recent weeks, particularly on bank holidays, in some of North Yorkshire’s busier towns.
National guidance to avoid the use of public transport where possible has also meant that people have chosen to use more active travel measures such as walking and cycling and the measures will look to build on this where possible.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:
With our partners, we are taking a considered, proportionate approach that we hope will reassure the public and businesses. We want to support traders in opening safely and we want the public to be able to visit shops with the confidence that measures are in place to help to protect them.
At the same time, we aim to ensure effective access for all road users, whether that be drivers, cyclists or pedestrians, workers, shoppers or delivery vehicles. It is about achieving a balance and we will, with our partners, constantly review our actions.
In many of our market towns there are relatively few pedestrian areas and often quite narrow footpaths, so we are working on ways to ensure potential queues outside shops can maintain social distancing rules and accommodate pedestrians walking up and down the street.
To achieve this safely we are looking at temporary solutions to effectively widen footpath areas and to accommodate safe pedestrian flow, so that people can access shops while remaining at a safe distance from other shoppers and other pedestrians.
We have reviewed the measures already taken and, on the whole, feel they have worked well in achieving the required balance. We will keep our approach under review as the situation develops. We will consider each location individually and will take appropriate measures.