Coun Glen Sanderson, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member for local services, also noted that this was the first day that many businesses were able to open since the lockdown began and explained that the council has come up with further potential measures to create more pedestrian space, as towns become busier.
“Our overriding aim within town centres in the county is to ensure the safety of our residents, while also supporting businesses as they begin to reopen,” he said.
“We would like to thank everyone who has come out shopping today and has respected social distancing and embraced these important short-term measures.
“This is the first day that shops and businesses deemed non-essential have been able to open, so it is early days, and the measures we have put in place will become more important as towns become busier.
“Council staff have been on hand as ‘community ambassadors’ to provide friendly support and guidance to shoppers and traders where it is needed during the first days of these new arrangements.
“We’ll continue to monitor how town centres are operating as more businesses reopen, and we have already identified a range of further measures that could be brought into effect to create more pedestrian space, as towns become busier.
“We’re working very closely with local councillors, parish and town councils and local chambers of trade and shopping centre operators to take forward the next phase, making sure that our towns continue to be safe and attractive places to shop and visit.”
As previously reported, the council has initially focused on its 12 larger towns to establish what measures could be put in place to ensure the safe movement of pedestrians, while still allowing for shops to receive deliveries.
These include notices reminding people about social distancing, advisory one-way signs for pedestrians in some areas, working with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards and liaison with town and parish councils to relocate any street furniture that is causing a problem.