Middlesbrough Council is supporting businesses by introducing a series of changes to the town centre to make it as safe as possible for shoppers and visitors.
A range of measures is being developed around safety and supporting businesses following consultation with partners including shopping centres and public transport operators.
The changes - which are temporary and will be continually reviewed - include:
- Public sanitation stations - Nine handwashing stations are to be positioned around the town centre with public health teams in the town keen to stress that good hand hygiene remains essential in the fight against Covid-19.
- Baker and Bedford Streets will be temporarily closed for vehicle access to allow parts of the footpaths and roads to be used by businesses. Parking bays on the western side of Albert Road will be converted to loading bays, to maintain access for businesses on both roads.
- Introduction of Town Centre Ambassadors - Council staff will be temporarily redeployed into the town centre to assist shoppers and visitors with the new measures.
- Free parking - The Captain Cook Square and Zetland multi-storey car parks will reopen on June 15 to provide extra capacity for workers and visitors. Parking will be free across the town for an initial four-week period - including available on-street bays - as the Council looks to support businesses. Car park users are urged to social distance and there will be a limit of one person or household group using lifts at any one time. Frequent cleaning of contact areas will take place within the multi-storeys.
- One-way systems for pedestrians will be introduced on sections of Linthorpe Road, Corporation Road and Newport Road.
- Grange Road and Linthorpe Road Central will be closed to traffic.
- Bins for face coverings - Waste bins have been added in public places to allow for safe disposal.
- Increased regular cleaning of ‘touch points' including pelican crossing buttons and street furniture.
- Floor signage and graphics to remind people of the need for safe social distancing and queueing.
- Parking bays on Linthorpe Road between Borough Road and Southfield Road will be suspended to allow more space to assist social distancing and relieve ‘pinch points'.
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: "These measures are just a small snapshot of everything the Council is doing to ensure the safety of all our visitors, shoppers and workers.
"It's absolutely vital that we do all we can to help everyone adjust to the ‘new normal' and stay as safe as possible while going about their everyday business."
A significant number of businesses will reopen on June 15.
Collin Donaldson from Triads said: "From our point of view we're looking forward to re-opening and getting back to normality.
"Of course, we'll be making sure we follow all of the guidelines and serve the public safely and efficiently. I think it's been a chance to reflect and I'm confident the town will come back with a vibrant new energy."
Steps are also being taken to establish if licensing and planning rules can be relaxed to allow certain businesses to increase their space as further restrictions are relaxed.
Cllr Ashley Waters, Middlesbrough Council's Executive Member for Regeneration, added: "Lots of measures are being introduced straight away as we look to safely start re-building our economy, but I want to reassure everyone that we are already discussing the next steps and how we safely re-open leisure destinations in Middlesbrough including pubs and restaurants and we hope to be able to release more details on that soon."
Further details on arrangements in the bus station will be published next week.