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Town centres to get ambassadors

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By Fiona Reid
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Town centres to get ambassadors

A PLAN to restart the region's 17 town centres has swung into action, including the introduction of town centre ambassadors in Annan, Dumfries, Stranraer and Castle Douglas.

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s dedicated town centre restart task force are now preparing for the three different stages of reopening, starting on Monday with shops that access directly on to the street. That will be followed by cafes, pubs and restaurants allowed to do outside trading from July 6 and then indoor trading from 15 July, at which point indoor shopping centres can also reopen.

A council spokesman said: “We have activated plans to prepare our town centres for an increase in activity so that they are safe environments for us all to enjoy the services of our local businesses.”

The task force team is considering business support, safe shopping, additional street cleansing, supporting communities, social distancing, and the needs of town centre residents with as little upheaval as possible. Signage is being distributed, cleansing of public spaces is taking places and cycle paths are being prepared to encourage safe distancing. Shoppers will be encouraged to walk, cycle or wheel into the towns, where possible.

The spokesman added: “We may need to make some necessary temporary adaptations so we can provide safe spaces for queuing and pedestrians. We will discuss any alterations with local communities and businesses, but ask that you please understand that modifications will be required in some places. This could mean altering traffic flow or reducing parking spaces or litter bins by a small number to make space outside shops, but again, only where there is no alternative. We ask for patience and understanding, recognising that these temporary measures are necessary to create safe spaces for all in our town centres.”

The new town centre ambassadors have not yet been identified but from next week they will be out and about on the streets, providing advice and answering queries from the public.

Commenting on all the measures, Cllr Archie Dryburgh said: “Never has it been more important to shop local but shop safe. We are doing as much as we are able to make sure that our town centres are safe places to be: encouraging community confidence in our spaces and asking that we all support our local shops. There will be some upheaval, but this will be unavoidable, but by working together with them community and shop owners recognising why this is necessary, we will get through this together.”

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