Anyone heading into Newport on Monday will notice something a bit different with temporary changes that will have been made in the town centre to make it safer and more spacious for pedestrians as part of Isle of Wight Council plans to encourage social distancing.
The most noticeable changes will be the appearance of white dots on the pavement to indicate two metre social distancing, as well as the message — ‘COVID-19 – Stay 2m apart’ — stencilled every 14 metres in the busiest shopping areas.
There will also be a number of signs attached to signposts and lampposts.
Most of them have the same message — ‘Keep your distance’ followed by ‘Maintain social distance’ — which is hoped will remind people to keep a two metre distance from others where possible.
Barriers will also be introduced to widen pavements as part of a pilot project in the lower part of the High Street.
With shops slowly starting to reopen and more people returning to work, Councillor Ian Ward, Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said it was essential for the council to support people to safely get out and about on foot.
He said: “Immediate priority is being given to our busiest shopping areas to ensure there is sufficient space for social distancing so people can safely access local businesses or pass by those queuing to enter shops.
“At this moment we are dealing with the ‘easy wins’ like widening pavements and extending pedestrianised zones, putting up new signage, setting down two metre marker dots to provide a ‘visual guide’ and relocating bus stops.
“However, going forward, we are keen to work closely with local communities, including town and parish councils and businesses, to find new and innovative ways to keep everyone safe in this ‘new normal’.
“Ultimately, it will all come down to people taking personal responsibility for their actions and how they behave when visiting some of our more busy areas.”
The first phase in Newport will centre on the lower High Street, between St James’ Street and Holyrood Street, but including St James’ Square and St Thomas’ Square.
The measures for this section include:
- A temporary 20 mph speed limit.
- The suspension of on-street parking (not loading bays) with barriers in the road to widen the pavement.
- The installation of painted dots and stencils at two metre intervals on the pavement, together with new signage.
- To aid social distancing at Newport Bus Station, bus stops for routes 5, 7, 12 and 38 will move to Church Litten from Monday, 8 June.
From the Isle of Wight Council