Safer public places
Lichfield District Council has put together a local policy for how it will promote safer urban centres and green spaces as the country starts emerging from lockdown.
The safer urban centres and green spaces policy sets out how the council, working in partnership, will help make public places as safe as possible.
This includes ten specific measures the council will put in place, such as increasing signage to promote social distancing guidance, and increasing the cleaning of public facilities, including toilets, street furniture and car park pay and display machines. There will also be a queueing system at any toilets and cafés in district council-managed parks.
The policy encourages business owners to adopt measures to enable people to safely access business premises, and the use of temporary markings on the ground to help traders set up social distancing separation.
It also sets out that the council will work with private landlords of commercial and retail properties to put suitable safeguards for tenants, customers and staff in place.
As well as promoting where cycle racks are located across the district, the policy encourages people to pay for parking at the council’s car parks using the pay by phone facility where possible. It also restricts access to public lifts to two people at a time, or family groups if they include children.
In the policy, the council confirms it will work with partners, including Lichfield City Council, Burntwood Town Council and Staffordshire County Council, to consider ways to enable people to access key centres and green spaces and move safely around these locations maintaining social distancing.
Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said:
“For everyone emerging from lockdown it is going to be a learning process. We might not get everything right first time and as things unfold, we might need to change what we all do.
"Our policy approach just now is based on trusting people to follow the social distancing guidance and highlighting the safeguards that need to be in place to protect our residents, visitors and businesses. If we need to bring in stewarding, one way flows to safeguard people navigating around our town and city centres, or, taking steps to avoid any pinch points, we will do that. We will do whatever it takes to make sure our district is safe and COVID-19 secure.
"Partnership working is going to be key. We are already talking with Three Spires about their plans and with the Lichfield BID about additional signage, hand sanitisers and a range of other measures to keep shoppers safe. We are looking at opening our own public toilets for longer, whilst also highlighting where cycle racks are located for those who want to cycle or walk into our shopping centres.
“Being able to trust people to do the right thing means I want to ask anyone venturing out to our parks and centres to remember to keep two metres apart from anyone who is not from the same household. If you are meeting up with someone from outside your own household, please remember it is with just one other person. You should not be meeting up in groups regardless of age. To keep safe it is sensible to wash your hands before and after going out.
“We know lockdown has been hard for an awful lot of people. With the sun shining people want to go out and see friends and family. We are not at that point yet, so if everyone can keep following the social distancing guidance, we can help protect each other and look forward to a time when we can open the city, town and village centres up fully.”
The safer urban centres and green spaces policy is available online at www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/saferpublicspaces.