Moray Council considers ways to ensure safe shopping
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MORAY Council is looking at ways to create space for pedestrians and more operational room for town-centre businesses to ensure safe social distancing.
The Scottish Government’s guidelines on physical distancing means customers may have to queue outside shops and banks, and food and drink retailers say they want enough outside space to enable socially distanced trading.
The council says that to facilitate this parking restrictions and temporary road closures will be necessary in Elgin town centre.
The proposals for Elgin will mean pedestrianising a number of town-centre streets to create the necessary space. Under the plan the eastern and western elements of the High Street either side of the Plainstones, Batchen Street, Commerce Street and the southern section of Lossie Wynd will be closed to traffic between 11am and 4pm. The east section of South Street will be closed between 11am and 2.30pm.
The proposals, developed with input from Elgin BID, have won support from the 58 businesses that participated in the recent Spaces for People consultation.
Most businesses that are able to open have experienced queueing outside their premises on the pavement and pedestrian areas. Around 40 per cent of respondents say they would like to use areas not in their control, such as pavements, for the safe queuing of customers or for tables and chairs.
The council says more than half of the businesses selling food or drink support a shared public space for eating and drinking. Others support reducing the number of cars in the town centre and increasing pedestrian space – particularly on Batchen Street.
The council adds that it will need to relocate some disabled parking and taxi ranks. It says alternative sites are available, and additional disabled parking spaces will be quickly provided in existing car parks.
Consultation with businesses is ongoing and no date has been set at this stage.
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