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Town centre reveals plans to keep shoppers safe when lockdown lifts

PUBLISHED: 14:30 04 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:30 04 June 2020

Graham Minshull, chairman of South Norfolk Council and district councillor for Diss, said their top priority is the safety of shoppers when the town officially opens for business from June 15. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Graham Minshull, chairman of South Norfolk Council and district councillor for Diss, said their top priority is the safety of shoppers when the town officially opens for business from June 15. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Sonya Duncan

Marshals, changes to traffic routes and outdoor seating areas are some of the plans to keep shoppers safe as a town centre prepares to reopen.

Diss town centre pictured in March. Photo: Sonya DuncanDiss town centre pictured in March. Photo: Sonya Duncan

South Norfolk District Council, Diss Town Council and business owners have been in talks to discuss how they can operate safely in Diss as lockdown restrictions ease.

Graham Minshull, chairman of South Norfolk Council and district councillor for Diss, said the council’s top priority was the safety of shoppers when the town officially opens for business from June 15.

He said: “What it boils down to for all market towns, shopping centres and city centres is that we have to make sure roads are safe for pedestrians and other users.

“And the main part of that is social distancing.

Diss district councillor Graham Minshull and chairman of South Norfolk Council. Picture: Simon ParkinDiss district councillor Graham Minshull and chairman of South Norfolk Council. Picture: Simon Parkin

“Two roads in Diss will be affected by this because they are not wide enough to allow safe passage for pedestrians as well as traffic. That will be part of St Nicholas Street and Mere Street.

“And we are asking traders to arrange deliveries wherever they can outside of peak shopping hours, earlier in the morning or late afternoon.

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“What we really want to do is give a kickstart for our businesses in the town and make sure they bounce back as quickly as possible, but it will be difficult.”

Free parking will remain in place at car parks and hand sanitising units will also be available throughout the town, along with extra signage and distance markings on pavements.

Marshals will also be present to answer any questions and assist with social distancing.

And the council hopes to introduce more outside seating areas and bike racks to encourage people to cycle into the town centre.

Mr Minshull added: “A lot of this will be trial and error.

“And what we are saying to traders is work with us and if something isn’t working, we can look to improve it.

“We are trying to do the best we can within those guidelines and help our small businesses get back to near normal without jeopardising people’s health.

“Just be sensible while you’re out shopping.”


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