Following the Government announcement that all shops can reopen from 15 June, Maidstone Borough Council and One Maidstone are working closely with Kent County Council and Kent Police to make this happen as safely as possible.
Maidstone town centre may look and feel different when people visit again, however it is very much open for business. Local residents are being encouraged to visit retailers again to shop in a safe environment.
John Foster, Head of Economic Development at Maidstone Borough Council said:
“Opening up our town centres is vital to their future success and those essential businesses within them. We are working closely with One Maidstone and all our partners to make sure this is done as safely as possible. We will be keeping a very close eye on the situation and may need to make changes as things progress; this is a completely new scenario for all of us.”
Ilsa Butler, BID Manager at One Maidstone said:
“The past few months have been the most unusual and difficult times we have all had to face and our town centre businesses have suffered immeasurably. We want to welcome back people to our town centres and support our business community through what is unchartered territory for us all.”
The Government has issued guidance on Safer Public Spaces and this project has received support from the European Regional Development Fund. Here are some of the changes:
- Social distancing rules will apply and new signs reinforcing these messages will be displayed.
- Queues outside shops will be limited to the length of the shop front only. If a queue were to go beyond this it would block the pavement, therefore shoppers will have to come back later.
- Shoppers will be asked to stay to the left when walking down some narrow streets - please look out for these signs.
- One Maidstone Ambassadors will be available to offer information and advice to shoppers and visitors to the town centre.
- 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.
- Some street furniture will have been moved to allow more space in public areas. It will be cleaned daily.
- 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.
- Current Government advice asks people to only travel if it is essential and if people are able to walk, cycle or drive rather than use public transport, only take the train if there is no other option.
- 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/