Covid-19 restrictions sign

Gateshead Council preparing to remove social distancing measures

Plans are being put in place by Gateshead Council to prepare for the removal of social distancing measures introduced in centres across the borough last year in line with the easing of national restrictions.

The local authority implemented a range of temporary measures, in areas with higher footfall or limited space for pedestrians, in order to ensure people could shop locally and safely.

However, in line with recent government announcements regarding the roadmap out of lockdown, preparations are being made to remove these measures.

No work will take place until after 14 June, as this is when the government is expected to confirm the next steps in easing national restrictions further.

Once confirmed, the measures introduced last year to widen footways and provide space for social distancing, as well as temporary car parking arrangements, will be removed.

Commenting, Leader of Gateshead Council, Councillor Martin Gannon said: "Throughout the pandemic, public safety has been our primary concern.

“Based on reduced rates of Covid cases and the successful rollout of the vaccination programme, we feel now is the right time to prepare for the removal of the measures we brought in last year.

“Whilst we are hoping to do this next month in line with national guidance, we are still asking people to remain cautious, consider shopping at quieter times and continue to follow all the latest public health advice, particularly with the emergence of new variants.

“Our shops and businesses have faced huge challenges over the last 14 months and yet many have also been a lifeline for local residents during a very difficult time.

“I hope as we look to move back to normality, people continue to support our businesses and shop local."

Gateshead council’s Covid-19 support officers are working in all of the borough’s local centres to provide advice to businesses and ensure compliance with the latest guidance.

During lockdown, the council employed a business advisor and provided advice and guidance to businesses to ensure they could comply with the ever changing guidance and restrictions.

Over the next few months, the authority will consult with residents and businesses to look at what more can be done to help to encourage people to return to their local shops.

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