Guidance for town centres and high streets to consider for ‘re-opening’
This guidance builds on the partnership approach that we have taken with local communities and stakeholders across Buckinghamshire. It seeks to support businesses and communities in developing the public realm elements needed for activities to ‘re-open’.
Central government has announced that non-essential retail businesses can reopen on 15 June 2020. Consequently, increased footfall in town centres is expected as residents return to reopened stores. It is critical that measures to encourage social distancing are put into place in public areas such as the high street in time for the reopening on the 15 June.
This guidance is based on the central government guidance.
Central government guidance should always be the first point of reference, and all actions should be in keeping with the most up to date version of that guidance.
High Streets and town centres should seek to adapt measures to match to the unique needs of each community. Impacts on disabled users should be taken into account during implementation of all of these measures. This should include (but is not limited to) clear signage in the street to inform all users of the systems in place and reducing as far as possible trip hazards (for example where pavements are widened).
- Communications and signage should be clear and at regular intervals to remind people to social distance as well as how to adhere to the introduction of other routing, for example one-way pedestrian flow arrangements.
- It is appropriate to utilise existing street furniture (lighting columns for instance) to display signage to remind the public to socially distance. We can provide these materials (signs and pavement stickers) upon request and provide advice. Where erecting signage is an issue, we can assist.
- Consideration should be given about the number of signs and their placement so as to avoid ‘overcrowding’ of signs and messaging confusion.
- Removal of temporary street furniture or signage can create more space on the pavements for social distancing. This could include removing or relocating ‘a-frame’ signage, bins, or other street signage or ‘clutter’.
- Where permanent or semi-permanent street furniture needs to be removed or moved, we can assess and assist.
Changes to pavements and pedestrian routing
- Where pavements or passages are too narrow for safe social distancing, measures such as the introduction of one way systems for pedestrians or vehicles, removal of parking bays, or other temporary measures may be considered. We can assess and assist and lead on any required changes to the public highway.
- Where controlled pedestrian flow arrangements require additional measures such as new crossings, we can assess and assist and will lead on the delivery of any new crossings.
- Public seating may need to be modified to ensure people are not seated too near each other. It is appropriate to introduce markings on benches and other seating to show every other seat as being unavailable, for example, to ensure users are seated at a distance from one another.
Businesses, shops and storefronts
Businesses should ensure they are following government guidance and displaying the required COVID risk assessment certification.
Businesses are asked to ensure that:
- Queues outside shops/premise form with the flow of pedestrian traffic.
- The queue outside their shop/premise has markings laid out and it is managed; the shop/premise is responsible for their queue outside the entrance to the building.
- Customers are asked to leave shops going with the flow of pedestrian traffic.
- Queues do not block the entrance of an adjoining shop or make it difficult for patrons of adjoining shops to socially distance. Businesses should collaborate with each other and develop approaches that support neighbours and adjacent shops.
- The ‘end’ of the queue is signed/marked on the ground, clearly telling the public not to queue past this point.
- Queuing should be clearly marked on the ground to ensure that members of the public queue the appropriate distances apart from one another and so that queues do not interfere with pedestrian flow. We can provide pavement stickers for this upon request.
- Where possible, doors and entryways into businesses should be left open during business hours to prevent the need for customers to touch door handles.
For further information or queries on these guidelines please contact:
If you need to report an issue please contact: