How Black Country streets and shopping centres have changed ready to reopen

Streets have been pedestrianised, pavements widened and social-distancing measures have been put in at shopping centres.

This shopper waits a newly extended bus stop in Wolverhampton as pavements are extended and Lichfield Street is now one-way with a cycle lane
This shopper waits a newly extended bus stop in Wolverhampton as pavements are extended and Lichfield Street is now one-way with a cycle lane

Town centres and city centres across the Black Country and Staffordshire have stepped up precautions as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Leaders have put the emergency changes in place ahead of influx of people returning to work – or shopping – from Monday.

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They have been introduced to ensure people maintain the Government’s social distancing guidelines, especially on narrow streets.

In Wolverhampton, Dudley Street will have a central one-way walking route in place.

The council’s public toilets in Bilston, Wednesfield, Tettenhall Park and West Park will also reopen from Monday, while the city centre (Victoria Street) toilet will reopen on Wednesday.

Pavements have been widened with cones on some Wolverhampton city centre roads to aid social distancing

There will be traffic restrictions on Dudley Street and in Bilston on the High Street and Church Street, with traffic management in place for deliveries.

Free parking will remain in council car parks and on-street bays until June 22, with the re-introduction of parking charges currently under review.

City councillor Steve Evans, said: “The most important thing is that businesses and visitors to these areas stick firmly to the Government’s social distancing and hygiene guidance guidelines.”

There will also be pedestrianisation of Victoria Street from its junction at Queen Street to Bell Street.

Victoria Street next to Beatties and the Mander Centre has been closed to traffic

Meanwhile, signs promoting social distancing have been introduced across Stafford – with some narrow one-way streets becoming one-way for pedestrians.

Pavements have also been marked to ensure people queue safely outside various shops, with the indoor market in Stafford reopening from Tuesday.

Councillor Patrick Farrington, leader of Stafford Borough Council, said: “I know this period has been especially tough for many retailers so I am pleased they can begin trading as it is vital that we get this section of our economy moving and restoring people’s livelihoods.

“We have already put together some advice for businesses to prepare for reopening and other measures will be in place to help make sure residents can use our towns and shops safely.”

New Square shopping centre, in West Bromwich, has been open during lockdown with people able to visit its Tesco.

A one-way system is in lace at New Square here outside Tesco
New Square Shopping Centre has installed its own measures ahead of more store reopening on Monday

Now measures are being stepped up as it prepares to welcome back other stores planning to reopen next week.

Barriers have been put in place creating a one-way system at the entrance near Tesco and hand sanitising areas placed outside stores including Next.

Sandwell Council leader Councillor Yvonne Davies said: “I would urge people to show support for your local businesses safely – by adhering to social distancing guidelines.”

Hand sanitiser stations have been put up close to shops at the West Bromwich centre

In Brierley Hill, a range of changes have been implemented – with parking bays and the carriageway not in use in the High Street and on Mill Street to help pedestrians.

In Stourbridge, the High Street will be closed each day between 9am until 4pm to cars. The route will be pedestrianised to allow people to follow social distancing guidelines.

A two one-way system has been introduced on the main shopping streets in Halesowen – directing pedestrians on which way to go – with parking bays not in use and no stopping for vehicles allowed.

There are new social distancing measures in The Cornbow Shopping Centre with barriers helping to direct people safely between stores.

Temporary measures have been put in place at Cornbow Shopping Centre, in Halesowen
A one-way system is in place to help shoppers get around inside Cornbow Shopping Centre

Parking bays and the carriageway in Dudley town centre won’t be in operation which will result in more room for walkers – along with in New Street, Fisher Street and Stone Street.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “We understand this is a difficult time, both for the businesses that will be opening from Monday and those shoppers visiting them.

The Cornbow Centre manager Eve O'Connor showcased some of the new measures in place

"We are doing everything we can to support businesses and shoppers to make sure our town centres are as safe as they can be.”

Towns across Wyre Forest District will have signage introduced to reinforce the two-metre social distancing guidelines.

Public toilets in the towns will be open with cleaning stepped up – with benches and bins kept clean and disinfected regularly.

Kidderminster market will open on Thursday with Wyre Forest District Council working with the operator to ensure each stall has a safe location to work in.

In Walsall, a “conscious” decision has been made to ensure “excessive” numbers of barriers and one-way systems are not implemented.

Advice has been posted around Walsall town centre for shoppers to keep their distance

Instead chiefs hope to maximise space in high streets across the borough for people to use safely, with businesses managing any on-street queuing.

Roads closures and one-way systems will be introduced at St Paul’s Street, Crown Wharf and Bridge Street.

Officers from environmental health, trading standards and licensing teams have visited more than 500 businesses to remind them of the guidelines.

A new social distancing message on a Walsall Council bin

It comes as Walsall market reopens today on a reduced and phased basis – with measures, including a one-way system, introduced.

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