Maidstone’s towns and villages have been welcoming people back to shops across the borough and is grateful for how people have been observing new measures put in place to keep everyone safe.
In line with social distancing government guidance, Maidstone Borough Council introduced new signage and ‘one-way’ systems to allow people to come back and shop in the town centre.
In addition, spring flowers are blooming in the various new planters introduced around the town and the MBC street cleansing team has deep cleaned the pavements ready for shoppers.
Cllr Martin Cox, Leader of Maidstone Borough Council said: “It’s great to see shops and businesses reopening after such a difficult time. Things look different as measures have been introduced to encourage social distancing and these new systems could be with us for some time to come.
“There has been a steady stream of people visiting the town centre shops, which was good to see.”
Maidstone Borough Council has worked closely with its partners including One Maidstone, Fremlin Walk, The Mall, Kent County Council and Kent Police to help reopen the town as safely as possible.
Cllr Cox continued: “People will need to queue outside shops which is limited to the length of the shop front only, so some pavements are marked with lines to highlight this.
“It is good to see shops managing their queues, Primark on Week Street were particularly busy with one of the longest queues outside their shop on Monday but were managing it well. They were very proactive at encouraging a two metre distance between shoppers, well done Primark.
“This is a new to all of us so we are managing it day by day and unfortunately and unfortunately if certain shopping areas get too busy, shoppers may be asked to come back later.
“My message to residents and visitors is that Maidstone is back in business and looks forward to welcoming shoppers again in a safe and slightly different environment. There is no need for everyone to all rush back at once as the town is gradually getting back to some sort of normality and is here to stay.”
· New ‘keep left’ one way signage is being used in busy areas of the town centre and across high streets throughout the borough.
· One Maidstone Ambassadors are available to offer information and advice to shoppers and visitors to the town centre and Kent Police will continue to have a visible presence in the town centre.
· Public toilets are available in The Mall shopping Centre and Fremlin Walk.
· Car parks are all open and parking charges still apply. ‘RingGo’ cashless payment options continue to be available in all car parks. Payment machines are cleaned regularly.
· All restaurants and cafes will remain closed for the time being unless offering a takeaway service.
· Public transport is still running although this is limited and does have restrictions and a reduced capacity in place. Customers must wear a face-covering when travelling on public transport.
· Arriva are operating a revised service, please check their online timetable before starting your journey: https://www.arrivabus.co.uk/coronavirus/important-service-information—kent-and-surrey/
· The Park and Ride service is operating at both sites. Initially it will be running the pre-Covid Saturday timetable, running Monday to Saturday every 25mins.
· New gates have been installed on Earl Street and Gabriel’s Hill to make sure traffic can be controlled at peak times and some of the street furniture has been removed so that people can move around easier.
· Temporary road closures will apply on some town centre roads and there have been some changes to permitted loading times for shop deliveries to help reduce traffic at peak times.
· In addition, information and guidance has been designed, produced and distributed to retailers to support their safe reopening, working in partnership with the Police, Kent County Council and One Maidstone.
These temporary changes are part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.