Shambles could go one-way when York reopens

Shambles could reopen with a one-way system for pedestrians. Photograph: YorkMix

Shambles could be turned into a one-way street for pedestrians when the lockdown is relaxed, under measures being considered to help city centre businesses reopen.

The government has not yet outlined how or when many businesses will be able to reopen.

But organisations, retailers and business owners are working together to plan ahead.

And these plans could include installing hand sanitiser towers on the streets, opening certain stores on different days and enlisting volunteers to help support people visiting the city centre.

Staggering open times

Phil Pinder, chair of the York Retail Forum

Phil Pinder, chair of York Retail Forum, said a confidence charter could be created to make customers and business owners feel safe coming into the city once the government changes restrictions.

York’s many narrow streets and smaller buildings could make social distancing challenging when shops reopen.

Phil said:

  • Narrow streets could have one way systems in operation.

    Volunteers could assist people to help them get to shops safely. We are looking for volunteers to sign up.

    Even if you have lived in York for decades, going into the city centre will be different. Some shops might be closed on certain days. You might have to get to them by a different route.

    Smaller cities like York are going to have to put special plans in place to maintain social distancing. Is the government prepared to offer help?

He added: “We know at some point we have to get the economy going again – we are preparing because we have got to be ready.”

Limiting the number of people allowed inside shops could also mean businesses have fewer customers and lose money.

Positive approach

Photograph: YorkMix

A spokesperson for First Bus York – which also runs Park&Ride services – welcomed the proactive approach of business leaders in the city.

They said: “We absolutely agree on the positive approach being taken by business and retail to look ahead but it is still too early to confirm what bus service levels will be provided as restrictions are eased.

“The current circumstances are unheard-of, with people encouraged not to use public transport to restrict the spread of Covid-19.

“We are proud of the way our staff and customers have adapted to ensure we can provide limited services safely for essential travellers.

“First York will carefully consider any changes to our services as lockdown measures are revised when both the Park & Ride and city bus network will have an important role to play, whilst ensuring our staff and customers remain safe.”

“This will of course be led by Government guidance and we will work closely with all our partners at City of York Council and within the business and retail sector as restrictions are eased.”

New guidelines

New guidelines on what retailers can and cannot do have been published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

One measure means that shoppers may be unable to try on clothes when stores reopen.

The advice is one of several precautionary recommendations published by the retail lobby group, ahead of lockdown measures beginning to ease.

Recommended measures include encouraging customers to shop alone, limiting the amount of people allowed into stores, regularly cleaning, and scheduling deliveries at quieter times.