Ahead of some shops and business reopening from Monday (15 June 2020), Leeds City Council has issued further information on measures in place to keep people safe in the city centre.
Following on from initial details released at the end of last month about what to expect when lockdown measures were eased, the council is keen to reiterate the advice and messaging around businesses and non-essential shops which are reopening from Monday 15 June.
The priority remains on keeping people safe in public space and places, and ensuring people can adhere to social distancing rules to stop the spread of the virus.
Working with businesses, partners and stakeholders in the city centre including LeedsBID, the measures include widening pedestrian areas where possible, emergency trial pop-up cycle lanes, key information signage, one-way systems through shopping centres and shops and hand sanitiser stations.
From June 15, a significant number of retailers across the city centre are expected to be open including those in Trinity Leeds, Victoria Gate, Victoria Quarter, Merrion Centre, and St Johns Centre. Whilst a number of shops will be open straight away from Monday, more are expected to follow in the coming weeks.
Guidance has been given to businesses to support them to operate safely, including ways to manage safe queuing systems including disabled access outside stores maintaining the two-metre social distancing rule, while the public messaging encourages people to use contactless payment wherever possible. Everyone is advised to wash their hands regularly, and especially before leaving home and when returning after being in public.
A new council team of ‘city centre ambassadors’ will be on hand in the city centre in the main retail areas to help the public, while other council teams will also be available to offer assistance and guidance to keep people safe.
Some but not all toilets in the city centre will be open, while parking in all council-managed car parks remains free of charge until at least July 4. For more information on parking in Leeds visit www.visitleeds.co.uk/resources/car-parking-in-leeds
In terms of transport the guidance continues to be only use public transport if necessary, and everyone who does must wear a face covering with contactless payment to be used if possible. Capacity on public transport is limited due to social distancing measures with longer journey times, so those considering travel are urged to consider whether it is necessary, could it be outside of busy times and could alternative options such as active travel cycling or walking be used instead. The number of cycle parking bays across the city centre is to be increased over the comings weeks to support increased cycling.
Measures are in place at travel hubs including Leeds Station and Leeds Bus Station to support social distancing, while additional cleaning is also taking place at transport interchanges. All park and ride services remain closed until further notice.
Leeds City Council’s cleansing services team will be carrying out enhanced cleaning in the city centre working with the LeedsBID rangers, with public benches available for use but only with the two-metre distancing being followed. Collections from recycling on the go bins and coffee cup bins in the city centre have also now resumed, with all items of street furniture including bins being regularly deep cleaned.
Anyone developing symptoms of the virus is advised to stay at home and follow the national guidelines in terms of requesting a test and the track and trace system if the test proves positive. Those in shielded groups are also advised to continue following the national guidance to keep them safe.
With lockdown slowly being eased, Leeds City Council is continuing to work with partners to provide essential support to help rough sleepers and those with a street-based lifestyle, including access to accommodation, food and individual assistance. Anyone with concerns for the welfare of people on the street can contact (0113) 245 9445.
At this time especially, direct donations of cash or food have increased health risks for both the person on the street and anyone donating. It can also prevent people accessing the help they really need and that support currently in place for them elsewhere.
Anyone who wishes to help can show their support by donating to Big Change Leeds at www.bigchangeleeds.co.uk
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:
“It is a positive and welcome step to see our city centre start to reopen, but we would still urge considerable caution and ask people to follow the guidance and messaging they see in shops and public spaces, with patience and understanding so everyone can keep safe.
“We would encourage people where possible to think carefully about how and when they choose to travel, with active travel in terms of walking and cycling preferred and to allow more time for journeys and moving around the city centre.
“All of these measures are designed to stop the virus spreading, so if everyone takes care to follow them it will help us all.”
Chief Executive of LeedsBID Andrew Cooper said:
“Retailers and city centre managers have been preparing behind the scenes for some time to ensure that when reopening takes place on Monday 15 June, people can enjoy a safe experience in their favourite shops in Leeds city centre. In these challenging times it has been great to see the positive and collaborative endeavours of retailers, landlords and street teams working together as Leeds reopens.”
For all the latest information on Leeds City Council support go to www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus.
This post is based on a press release issued by Leeds City Council