Watford town centre will have a different look from this weekend as changes are made to support the public to safely socially distance.
This is part of the COVID-19 recovery effort by Hertfordshire, and although being led by Public Health, the changes to the town centres are designed to support residents, businesses and families to remain safe as government allows high streets to reopen in a phased and gradual manner.
Along with Watford, Bishop’s Stortford, Borehamwood and Hertford will be the first to see the safety measures, such as closing the road off to traffic, removing parking or narrowing of roads, to help pedestrians.
Then, from Tuesday (May 26, 2020), safety measures will be implemented at a further eight locations – Ware, Radlett, Royston, Hitchin, Knebworth, Harpenden, St Albans and Welwyn.
As more people are returning to work and retail operations gear up from June, government has encouraged all Highways teams across the country to take action to help the public socially distance.
Detailed considerations have also been given to the need for access for local residents, public transport, emergency services, deliveries and accessibility for the disabled.
Councillor Phil Bibby, Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Environment, said: “This is a rapidly moving project, and we are now in a position to start rolling out some of the measures ahead of the government’s timeline.
“We’re playing our part during this time, and hope residents will continue to demonstrate kindness to each other by keeping the two metres distancing.
“I understand and recognise that those living in town centres may experience some disruption, as the traffic management changes. But I hope they will appreciate feeling that their streets are made safer for pedestrians and residents alike as a result of the changes.”
Jim McManus, Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council, said:
“We have been advising our Highways colleagues to ensure that they have the right measures in place to allow people to safely go about their business in town centres, and enable them to socially distance as they do so.”