David Ellesmere Waterfront
David Ellesmere Waterfront

Monday 15th June marks a major phase in the relaxation of lockdown restrictions with the re-opening of non-essential shops.

As we prepare to welcome more people back to the town centre, Ipswich Borough Council has been working with our partners to make this as safe and enjoyable an experience as possible.

We know that the town centre will not be operating as it did before the virus struck. Social distancing measures mean that it is likely that only a limited number of people will be allowed in each shop at one time. Some shops will have one-way systems in place. We should consider wearing face coverings while out shopping.

Outside there will plenty of signage to aid safe queuing. While moving around the town centre we are being advised to “keep left”.

Upper Brook Street will be closed to traffic during the day and smaller alleyways will be closed to pedestrians to allow safe social distancing.

The Borough Council is doing its bit to welcome people back.

Crown Multi-storey Car Park has been re-opened and will be free of charge for the next three weeks. Crown has 28 electric vehicle charging points, the largest number in any car park in Ipswich, and the electricity is currently free too.

I know availability of public toilets is a concern to people visiting the town centre, especially as many of the large stores will be keeping their toilets closed to public use. We had already opened Major’s Corner, but we have responded to a request from Ipswich Central and now also temporarily opened the toilets in the Corn Exchange for public use.

In a further step towards normality, I’m pleased that Christchurch Mansion tearooms will also re-open with a takeaway service from the serving hatch at the side of the building.

As the warm weather returns, I’m sure many people will welcome being able to enjoy an ice cream in the park again!

These are all welcome steps but there is still a long way to go before the virus is defeated and we can genuinely return to “normal”.

We are not out of the woods yet, and must continue to maintain social distancing, but together we can get through this.

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