Rates Must Stay Low for Removal of Barriers

By bellmannews / September 10, 2020

A CONTINUED reduction in Covid-19 infection rates is needed to see the removal of Spaces for People barriers in the town.

The measures, which were funded by the Scottish Government, were introduced at the end of June, by the local authority, to aid social distancing in the town centre.

At Tuesday night’s meeting of Stonehaven and District Community Council, SDCC, acting area manager Bruce Stewart said the measures were reviewed weekly, to assess whether they could be changed or removed.

And there had been discussions with local businesses to make sure officers were aware of any issues. This, combined with input from councillors has led to some measures being removed.

Covid-19 figures being monitored

Mr Stewart said ongoing review of the proposals also took into account the number of new cases of Covid-19. He said there are now plans to significantly reduce the number of barriers around the Square – if the infection rate is sustained at no more than 3.6 cases per 100,000 people, for at least seven consecutive days.

According to a recent Abereenshire Council press release: ”If the number of new cases of Covid-19 in Grampian (expressed as a rate per 100,000 people over the previous 7 days) is less than 3.6 cases for at least 7 consecutive following days, Spaces for People measures will be reduced.

”In a small number of locations where it continues to be challenging to maintain physical distancing, measures may continue, for example, outside busy retail premises where queues regularly occur and it is challenging for passing pedestrians to maintain a safe distance.”

At the SDCC meeting, Mr Stewart added the complete removal of the barriers would only take place when we enter phase four of the Scottish Government mapping of the situation.

The next review by the Scottish Government takes place today (September 10).

Making the barriers more beautiful

There was of course input from members about the impact of the barriers on both traders and elderly shoppers, who found it hard to access the shops.

Mr Stewart conceded lessons had been learned.

He said: ”If we were to do the whole thing again, there are aspects that would be done differently.”

Meanwhile, there have been discussions with Stonehaven Business Association, looking at ways to make them more attractive.

Dawn Black said they would like to use banners on top of the barriers using the Stunning Stonehaven image, along with others promoting the Stonehaven Loves Local campaign and welcome to Stonehaven signage.

Mr Stewart offered to meet with Ms Black to discuss these propoals and the impact of any reduction in the Spaces for People measures.