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City Centre gets ready to welcome shoppers back

14 November 2019

A package of measures designed to help businesses to re-open and to gently encourage customers back into Plymouth’s city centre and the Barbican is being unveiled.

Teams across the Council are working with the City Centre Company, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, transport operators and businesses on steps designed to make people feel as safe as possible as the city begins to reopen post lockdown.

Big changes are being instigated in our car parks, with the end of cash payments for parking and the installation of safe distancing signage. Safe distancing markers and signs are appearing on the Barbican, across the city centre and the City Centre Company, PARC officers as well as the police will be patrolling to offer reassurance and a friendly presence while people get more used to keeping their distance.

City Centre manager Steve Hughes said: “We are lucky here in Plymouth as our city centre is very spacious, with plenty of room for shoppers to walk. We know people want to get out but we are also very mindful that people are worried. We’ve taken a critical look at every aspect of the city centre to see what changes we can make so that people feel confident that they are safe when they come back.”

Car park charges will be reintroduced from 5 June (Friday) and machines in all council city centre car parks will no longer take cash, with customers required to pay by credit and debit card or pay by RingGo, via the mobile phone app, website or by phone - except the multi storeys which are credit and debit card only.

Plans are also now underway for all the council’s parking machines, including on-street, to be completely cash free by the end of Summer.  People will be asked to pay by RingGo, via the mobile phone app, website or by phone but the Council is looking at other non-cash alternative payment systems on its on-street machines.

More measures are being brought in to make sure parking is as safe as possible. They include:

  • Two metre safe distancing markers around all payment facilities
  • Signs to remind people to keep safe and keep their distance
  • Clear directions for people walking to and from their cars in multi-storey car parks, including separate staircases designated up and down to reduce the likelihood of people getting too close
  • Lifts signed for safe distancing with only members of the same household to share lifts at any one time
  • An enhanced cleaning regime, with particular attention paid to areas people may touch - such as payment systems, including stairwells, handrails, lift areas, doors etc.

Other changes are underway to manage the flow of people walking and queuing around the city centre as shops begin to get back to business. Shoppers will see more signs reminding them to social distance.

The City Centre Company has issued a toolkit for businesses to help guide them through the changes they need to make to manage social distancing both inside and outside their premises. The Council’s trading standards and public protection teams are also helping retailers through the guidance.

The main Armada Way toilets are closed but the single cubicle toilets above ground near the Sundial are open and will be subject to an enhanced cleansing regime. The toilets opposite the Tourist Information Centre on the Barbican are also open. The street cleansing team will be out and about, paying particular attention to bins and seats.

Councillor Mark Lowry, City Centre champion added: “We are currently working towards June 15 when non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen and we are doing all we can to make sure the city centre and the Barbican is ready for when people feel they are ready to visit again.

“We are working with retailers so that they are clear about what they need to do within their own premises while we make sure that the public spaces in and around the city centre and the Barbican are places where people are safe and keep their distance from others.”

As and when shops re-open, the City Centre Company and the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership will share updates on their website and social media so that shoppers can see what shops have opened their doors. This will be shared by other partners.

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