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Shops reopen in Medway: council's plans for lockdown easing

Road closures, marshals and extra cleaning are just some of the ways Medway Council is preparing for Monday, when more shops re-open.

Shops and businesses across the Towns have been busy preparing to welcome customers back through their doors.

More shoppers will be back from Monday - but there won't be scenes like this
More shoppers will be back from Monday - but there won't be scenes like this

People will be able to go into more shops from Monday, as many welcome them in for the first time since lockdown started on March 23.

Medway Council has produced a guidance pack for retailers to help them put plans in place to safely reopen, in line with government guidelines.

Each shop is responsible for putting its own plans in place to help protect staff and customers.

Restrictions are likely to include limits on the number of customers allowed in at once, which could involve queuing outside, and one-way systems once inside.

Medway Council is also introducing a number of its own measures to help. They include:

Rochester High Street during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Picture: Chris Davey
Rochester High Street during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Picture: Chris Davey

• Medway Greeters on hand during peak hours to welcome people back to town centres and encourage them to queue responsibly and follow social distancing guidelines;

• Enhanced cleaning in each town centre high street;

• Public toilets reopened with hand sanitiser dispensers installed;

• Public bins regularly emptied and sanitised;

• Litter picks carried out to help keep the streets clean;

• Some benches taped off to help comply with social distancing measures;

• Signs reminding people to social distance.

All Medway Council car parks are open and motorists are encouraged to pay via the RingGo app. Payment machines will be regularly cleaned for those paying by coins.

A temporary road closure order has also been put in place stopping vehicles from driving along Rochester High Street between 10.30am and 3pm, Sunday to Friday to protect pedestrians who may be queuing in the road. This will be kept under review.

Existing road restrictions remain in place along the high streets, including on a Saturday in Rochester High Street, between 10am and 4pm.

Shopping centres in the area also revealed their plans this week.

Medway Council leader Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “It is great that we are able to get more shops in Medway’s high streets open for business again. Medway has many shops based in our high streets and across our five towns, and it is important for our economy and local job prospects that they can continue to do business.

“Medway Council has continued to support local businesses and is helping them through this evolving journey. The council has produced a useful guide for all retailers to offer them advice on reopening their doors to the public.

“Business owners and shop employees have been working extremely hard to put safety measures in place to welcome customers back and to keep them and staff safe.

"Medway Council has also worked hard to put its own measures in place to protect the public and help Medway’s high streets thrive again.

"Customers will see some changes to the way we shop during the ongoing pandemic, but I would encourage residents to support Medway high streets and our local businesses. Please be patient and polite with staff, who will be doing their best to keep businesses open and the public safe.

“We will continue to offer our support and advice to shops reopening in our high streets, as well as in other areas and villages within Chatham, Rainham, Strood, Gillingham and Rochester.

"We are proud that Medway has more than 14,000 businesses and we will do all we can to further support them through these challenging times and maintain Medway’s prosperous economy.”

You can download Medway Council’s guidance for retailers at medway.gov.uk/shopping

Medway markets remain closed for now, as do restaurants and cafes.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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