Residents are being encouraged to support local businesses as towns prepare to reopen from the coronavirus lockdown.

Many businesses and organisations are able to reopen from Monday (June 15), and Torridge District Council and town councils have been helping to facilitate the safe reopening of towns.

Businesses have to risk assess their operations and ensure social distancing and other safety recommendations can be implemented. Only those that have done so will be able to reopen.

Measures shops will consider include placing posters to advise of safety measures; storing returned items for 72 hours before they go back to the shop floor; placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public and frequently cleaning surfaces that are touched regularly such as trolleys, coffee machines and self-checkouts.

Torridge District Council leader, Councillor Ken James, urged people to support local businesses as they reopen.

He said: “We have been very fortunate in Torridge to have seen only very low levels of infection from the virus and one of our main priorities is to continue to shield our vulnerable residents. But now it’s also important that with safeguards in place, we take the next steps towards restoring people’s livelihoods, and restarting our economy.

“I hope that people will do everything they can to get behind and support local businesses with a ‘shop local’ approach to their spending.

“These businesses are vital to our economy and support many local jobs and families and it’s important that we help aid their recovery from this very difficult period.”

Measures around towns include temporary ‘keep left’ and ‘keep your distance’ policies for those navigating pavements and walkways.

Some areas such as the long bridge into Bideford will advise people to keep on the left or right side of a bridge or road depending on whether they are entering or leaving, effectively encouraging one way travel on some sections of pavement.

Some parking bays may also be temporarily taken out of use to prevent pinch points and improve the safety of pedestrian corridors.

Cllr James said: “While some of the temporary pedestrian measures may seem unfamiliar at first they are there to make the whole experience as safe as possible and I am hopeful, people will quickly get used to them, while they remain necessary.”