How will North Devon town centres reopen as the coronavirus lockdown eases?

Barnstaple Pannier Market will be among areas looking to reopen as lockdown eases. Picture: NDC

Barnstaple Pannier Market will be among areas looking to reopen as lockdown eases. Picture: NDC - Credit: Archant

Keep left guidelines, signs, stewards and hand santiser stations could be coming to North Devon streets as councils work to get local town centres reopened in the wake of coronavirus.

With non-essential shops likely to reopen on Monday, June 15, North Devon Council, together with Barnstaple Town Centre Management and town councils, is putting plans in place to allow residents to visit the town centres safely.

Signs are being displayed around North Devon town centres to remind those visiting high streets and shopping areas to keep their distance from others, in an effort to control Covid-19.

All businesses wishing to reopen have been required by government to carry out a risk assessment to make sure that social distancing and other safety recommendations are implemented.

Only businesses that have completed this process can reopen, keeping to measures that include notices, frequent cleaning and social distancing.

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NDC is also introducing a temporary ‘Keep Left’ system on the busier streets.

It said it is exploring a number of other measures, which may be brought in over the coming weeks and these include hand sanitising stations and stewards on hand to offer information and friendly reminders to shoppers to keep their distance from each other.

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Signs have already been installed in the areas expected to be busiest once shops reopen, including the main town centres of Barnstaple and Ilfracombe, with more being rolled out in local shopping areas as well as key leisure locations throughout the coming weeks.

In line with non-essential retail businesses reopening, car parking charges will be reintroduced in the town centre car parks from June 15, with available payment options being contactless card payments or the RingGo parking app.

The Cattle Market toilets in Barnstaple will also be reopening and some individual businesses may provide limited toilet facilities for the disabled, elderly people and children.

Cllr Malcolm Prowse, lead member for economic development and regeneration, said: “We have been very fortunate in North Devon to have seen relatively low levels of infection from the virus and we will do what we can to keep it that way. But it’s also important that, with safeguards in place, we take the next steps towards restoring people’s livelihoods, and restarting our economy. We hope the measures we are taking will give our residents the confidence to visit their preferred shopping area again, taking the opportunity to support local businesses by shopping local and enjoy some much-missed retail therapy.”

“We all need to take responsibility to follow social distancing guidelines and we hope that by putting measures in place, we will make it as easy and safe as possible for people to return and support their local high streets. We will continue to review the measures and may introduce more if required.”

Residents can stay up-to-date with the council’s plans to reopen town centres on the council’s website at

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