Keep left to help stay safe

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Signs have been installed telling shoppers to keep to the left on busy parts of King Street to encourage people to keep apart, while shoppers are also being urged to keep their masks on at all times, including while queuing outside and walking between shops.

Bins and benches have also been removed in some areas to provide more space to social-distance and the States police will be increasing patrols in town to reinforce the guidance.

A new Covid support team has also been formed to help support businesses with the new measures, risk assessments and what to do should any positive cases be reported.

Store managers and owners have welcomed the measures as a way to keep shoppers safe and stores open.

‘The more people who do adhere to the rules the better. Even little things like this make a heck of a difference,’ said Nancy Holt, manager of Blacks outdoor clothing store.

‘If there is anything that we can do that means we are safer, then we should all do that,’ added David Speed, managing director of Rivoli Jewellers. ‘[The rules] are not always pleasant, but it’s not all about being pleasant – it’s about being safe and considerate to other people.’

Mr Speed said that retail reopening would also bring huge benefits to store workers, who were ‘very sociable people’ and ‘extremely grateful’ to be able to get back to work.

Meanwhile, the owner of Voisins department store, Gerald Voisin, said: ‘I think we should try these things. If [the signs] keep the virus at bay and mean our community can get back to closer to normal, I think that’s not a bad idea. The lesson we should learn from Guernsey is that this [virus] can take off again pretty quickly – another reason why we must make sure we do use the hand sanitiser and wear a mask.’

Mr Voisin added that it was particularly important for retailers to follow guidance now to allow other businesses to open in future.

‘For me it’s that long-term aim of trying to help our society get back to normal,’ he said. ‘It’s up to retail to get it right so hairdressers, beauticians, cafés and so on can begin to operate. Any little thing that we can do to help that along is a positive.’

Town centre and events manager Vicky Trehorel said that local businesses needed Islanders’ support now more than ever, both in terms of visiting stores and by adhering to any safety measures in place.

‘As shops reopen my biggest hope is that we all do our bit by remembering to maintain physical distancing, wear masks where possible and be kind to those who are keeping services going for us,’ she said.

‘Things will certainly seem different as people start to return to town and I appreciate some people may feel anxious as they consider the prospect. The reminders are there to enable us to continue working towards a reduction in cases and ensure the safety of those we care about.’

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