Chester City Centre re-opens
17 June 2020Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth, said: "Chester cautiously welcomed back local people to city centre shops on Monday as some retailers re-opened their doors for the first time since March. There have been lots of changes in the city centre to help people exercise social distancing. Footfall was around 55 per cent of the average footfall before COVID-19, which is a good start for local businesses, but I am sure many will want to see that figure rise as residents choose to support the local economy and visit their favourite places again.
"The changes we have made in the city centre are designed to give confidence to shoppers by demonstrating that businesses and the local authority have taken the necessary safety precautions for shoppers. For example, because the Rows are narrow, we have implemented a one-way system for pedestrians. Chester's Rows weren't built with social distancing or accessibility in mind, with most access points being narrow and with steep steps. The Council has worked hard over the years to create decent access points, but even this means that the new one-way system can't be followed by everyone, so I would ask other shoppers to be respectful of people with buggies or wheel chairs who might need to go against the flow in order to access an exit point that meets their needs. This is obviously a big change for the city and it may take some time for everyone to adjust, but by being considerate of others, people can stay at a safe distance and we can keep the Rows open for all users.
"The new extended pedestrian areas are making it easier to maintain social distancing and providing space on the pavements for queues. However private taxis have advised that some pedestrian areas are causing inconvenience for their customers. We have listened to these concerns and have made Kaleyards car park on Frodsham Street available for private taxis to pick up customers.
"Once again thank you to the businesses, residents, shoppers and public transport operators for your co-operation. Everything we have done is aimed at keeping people safe, re-opening businesses and helping the city to slowly recover. It is important to remember that the virus is still with us, but by remembering to wash your hands frequently and keep a two-metre distance, we can support local shops, share public spaces and enjoy our beautiful city safely again."