The long-awaited re-opening of the so-called non-essential shops happened on Monday 15 June 2020. Town and parish councils up and down the land have been working with their district council, local traders and chambers of commerce, volunteer groups and other organisations to ensure that this happens with the minimum of confusion and the maximum of adherence to government regulations. Hungerford Town Council is no exception.
All high streets are different and, in Hungerford’s case there are a number of pinch points where either narrow pavements or clusters of several shops, or both, make safe queuing problematic. One solution is temporarily to widen the area used by pedestrians. As a result of this, new temporary measures being put in place along High Street and Bridge Street.
- A few parking spaces are being suspended: the spaces outside Coffee1 and Inklings, the bus stop outside the Kebab shop and a space on Bridge Street.
- A series of signs have been erected, and social distancing markings have been sprayed on the pavements and tape put down to help pedestrians to keep 2m apart.
Whilst all the above should be in place for Monday, Hungerford Town Council will continue to press for a reduction in the speed limit to 20mph of which many traders and residents have expressed support.
All the measures may, of course, require alteration at short notice in the light either of experience or of changing government regulations or guidelines. There is expectation that the 2m distance will change to 1m so the signs will need to be amended.
“We’re delighted to welcome back the traders and their customers,” the town’s Mayor Helen Simpson said. “even though obviously the current circumstances are far from ideal. I’d like to thank everyone, including the officers and my fellow councillors, who’ve worked so hard in the last few weeks to prepare for this. We encourage your support for our local businesses through these challenging times.”
The Hungerford Chamber of Commerce Chairman organised an official welcome to the shopkeepers with the Mayor and Town & Manor Constable Nick Lumley. The shopkeepers reported that they had used the lockdown period to refurbish their premises and install hygiene measures like till screens and hand sanitisers to keep staff and customers safe. You can see the video here.