Visitors will be able to shop safely in Romsey thanks to the introduction of a variety of new measures to protect people from the spread of coronavirus, as high streets up and down the country prepare to reopen on 15 June.
Businesses have introduced screens to protect customers and shoppers as well as new contactless payment options. And Test Valley Borough Council has been working with Romsey Town Council and Hampshire County Council to install new social distancing signs and introduce one-way systems for pedestrians between Broadwater Car Park and The Hundred, Newton Lane Car Park and Bell Street, and Alma Road Car Park and Latimer Street
They are also putting in place warning signs for drivers entering The Hundred to advise them to drive carefully as pedestrians are likely to be in the carriageway.
The government announced the closure of all shops selling non-essential items back in March. But with the restrictions starting to ease, many local shops are expected to reopen to customers next week.
And in a bid to encourage people to return to the town centre, TVBC has confirmed that it will be free to park for up to two hours in all of its car parks until 22 July.
Deputy leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Nick Adams-King, said:
This is a major step forward for businesses and I know many of them can’t wait to reopen on Monday. It’s therefore incredibly important that we have sufficient safety measures in place to protect the public from the spread of coronavirus and businesses have done an absolutely fantastic job of getting their own premises ready to welcome back customers, including installing protective screens at pay points and offering contactless payment options.
Lots of people will no doubt be nervous at the prospect of venturing back in to their local town centres and so it is vital that they feel safe when they return to Romsey. Inevitably there will be a balance between making sure people are safe but not hindering their ability to get around the town, which is why we would encourage residents and businesses to let us know if there is anything that doesn’t work for them or if there is something they think should be in place that isn’t currently.
Town centre manager, Mark Edgerley, said:
Romsey has a long tradition of attracting local residents and visitors to our eclectic mix of town centre shops, it has been really sad to see shops shut and streets deserted. Monday 15 June brings an opportunity for Romsey to safely start to “bounce back” to something of its pre-lockdown vibrancy, from this slow and steady progress we will see our Town once again flourish. Businesses will start to welcome customers through their doors, in small numbers at first but as the confidence of the retailers and the customers grow and it is safe we are sure “Our Romsey” will return.
Councillor Rob Humby, deputy leader of Hampshire County Council and executive member for economy, transport and environment, added:
We are implementing a number of temporary measures to help people travel back into our towns safely and create better spaces for people walking and cycling. The measures are designed to help maintain social distancing and make public areas safer during the Covid-19 pandemic and into the recovery period.
The Coronavirus pandemic has altered our views on how we live and how we travel. With more people cycling and walking, this is a critical time for us to decide how we want to move about in the future and seize the opportunities we have to shape a clean, healthy and sustainable transport future for Hampshire.