Leeds City Council has issued an update on work being done in the city centre and district centres ahead of the expected easing of some lockdown measures.
With the expected reopening of businesses and non-essential shops from June 15, the council has put in place a range of recovery measures to help people use and visit public spaces safely with a focus on adhering to social distancing rules.
Working with businesses, partners and stakeholders, the measures will apply to all public spaces in the city centre as well as towns and district hubs which are focal points for businesses or shops.
Visual changes in the city centre will see new signage in place in busy areas such as Briggate, reminding people of key information and the need to maintain two-metre social distancing at all times, while there will also be hand sanitising stations in place for the public to use.
On narrow streets and arcades a one-way system could be introduced, with markings in place and visuals to assist the public.
Guidance has been given to businesses to support them to operate safely, including ways to manage safe queuing outside stores, while the public messaging encourages people to use contactless payment wherever possible.
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.
In areas where pedestrian access has been widened, barriers will be in place with supporting signage while lamppost banners around the city centre will also reinforce the key safety messaging.
In parts of the city centre which are currently undergoing Connecting Leeds highway improvement works, where possible these projects have been accelerated to accommodate space widening for safe pedestrian use.
Connecting Leeds projects on The Headrow, Corn Exchange and Park Row have already included plans to create more pedestrian space, wider footways, and more outdoor space for street cafes.
Transport hubs including Leeds Station and Leeds Bus Station have also adopted a range of measures to keep those who need to use public transport for essential travel only as safe as possible.
In town and district centres, businesses are being asked to echo the measures in the city centre on queuing outside, as well as offering sanitisation stations for customers. Information and signage will be in place, with barriers for wider pedestrian access being introduced.
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:
“Getting our city centre and district centres back open again will be a key priority in the weeks ahead, however it needs to be done in a careful and controlled way in order to keep everyone safe.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in creating and implementing this plan, and I’d like to again thank the people of Leeds for their resilience and ask that it continues in terms of following the rules and adhering to the two-metre social distancing especially. Things may look a bit different in our public spaces, but if everyone follows the rules they will be safe places to work and visit as we start the process of recovery in Leeds.”
For all the latest information on Leeds City Council support go to https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus.