THE ORGANISATIONS working together to make Sunderland city centre a safe place to visit once current restrictions are lifted are appealing to shoppers to abide by the rules.
Measures are being taken across the city to ensure that when lockdown rules are eased on 15 June that everyone is aware of the new way to shop.
And now members of the city’s Recovery Task Force are reminding visitors that they need to do their bit and keep to the guidelines.
Plans for the Bridges include a one-way system through the centre and safe queueing measures outside of every store, to ensure people socially distance.
And the BID, working closely with the council and other members of The Recovery Task Force, has also created signage across the city centre which will help reinforce the messages in place.
“As lockdown is eased we want to welcome people back to the city centre, but we need to make sure that this happens in a safe and secure way,” said Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID.
“We have created a very visible campaign which highlights how people need to behave and we hope that everyone will take notice and keep to the rules.”
Duncan Allen, Building and Services Director, from the Bridges said the centre is now geared up for the return of customers.
“We have hand sanitising stations at key points in the centre and we’ll be reminding shoppers to social distance with signage and our public address system,” said Duncan.
“But it’s really going to be down to the public at the end of the day to act responsibly and keep their distance.
“We will monitor the situation every fifteen minutes utilising CCTV and paroling security staff and centre management staff and depending on how things go, that will dictate the next course of action.
“We would hope that people will also be respectful to each other and to the staff at the Bridges and do their bit to keep the city centre clean and tidy.”
Shoppers are also being reminded not to dwell in the centre, but to return home as soon as they have made their purchases, as part of the plan to prevent the risk of infection.
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: “We know that city centre retailers are very keen to welcome people back now that lockdown restrictions have eased.
“But it’s vital that we all continue to observe social distancing rules and remember that the advice remains to stay at home as much as possible to help control the virus and save lives.
“The best way to make sure that cases continue to fall is to be sensible and follow the advice on social distancing, that includes abiding by the measures put in place around the city centre and by retailers to keep us all safe.”
His words are echoed by Steve Knight, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Sunderland.
“We fully support efforts being made to ensure everyone remains safe as lockdown measures are eased and people return to the city centre to shop, work and study,” he said.